The Corner

Christie on New Jersey’s Gun Laws

About a month ago, I wrote a piece about New Jersey’s absurd gun laws — laws that have resulted in the arrests of at least three innocent people. All of them faced years in prison until the executive branch chose to let them off the hook. In the case of Brian Aitken, it took a commutation from Gov. Chris Christie himself to cut short a seven-year prison sentence.

The reason is an early-2008 change to a law called the Graves Act. The new policy mandated a three-year sentence for anyone caught with an illegal gun — no matter how obscure the technicality or how innocent the mistake that made it illegal. I spoke with several members of the New Jersey legislature — Republicans and Democrats — who were interested in reforming the law, but they were divided as to whether their liberal colleagues would cooperate.

I was unable to get a comment from the governor’s office for the story, so when John Derbyshire brought up the Second Amendment during Christie’s meeting at NR World Headquarters yesterday, I asked the governor whether he thought Graves Act reform was on the table, given the liberal-Democratic legislature.

His response was not encouraging: “No. Not at all. In fact, I think that Democrats — if they had a Democratic governor, there would be even more of these put on the books. They tried to in [former governor Jon] Corzine’s last year [in office], and they got caught up in the legislature trying to do even more.”

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