Early Friday evening, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed several gun related bills, including one, discussed here a week ago, that would ban .50 caliber rifles. This might have come as a surprise to some, since in April, he specifically asked the legislature for such a ban. According to NJ.com, in fact, Christie claimed when he made that request to have been influenced in favor of a .50 caliber ban by a report issued by a "gun violence task force," despite that report never having mentioned the big guns:
Even though Christie said a task force he created to study gun violence had issued the recommendation to ban future sales of the .50 caliber rifle, its nearly 100-page report made no reference to the gun. Instead, Christie included it in his own package of violence prevention measures the following week. Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said it was Christie’s recommendation, 'but it flowed from the report.'
Hmm . . . "flowed" invisibly, evidently.
The forcible citizen disarmament jihadists are predictably apoplectic about the veto. Bryan Miller, head (and maybe only member?) of Ceasfire New Jersey, and the quasi-religious gun ban group "Heeding God's Call," is especially incensed, according to the NJ.com article:
'One person with one of these guns and incendiary armor piercing bullets could knock down a chemical plant and kill hundreds of people. Chris Christie clearly is courageous for his place in the Republican Party, but not for the residents of New Jersey' Miller said.
Miller, for whatever reason, seems to have chosen not to address the obvious question of why hasn't some terrorist tried that chemical plant thing--ever--already. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is (of course) also in high dudgeon on both Facebook and Twitter.
Miller's reference to Christy's "place in the Republican Party" is a popular theme with the anti-gun crowd in the wake of the veto, with Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver claiming that Christie "bowed to the pressure of right wing conservatives."
If true--if Christie really believes that this will be enough to appease gun rights advocates--he is adding insult to the injury of the extremely draconian anti-gun bills he has signed, like the one that enables the federal government to disarm anyone it chooses, simply by designating political enemies as "suspected terrorists." One would certainly hope that gun rights advocates are both far too intelligent and far too proud to be bought off that easily.
Besides, Christie is not even pretending to have come to an epiphany about .50 caliber rifles, leading him to oppose banning them, within four months of proposing exactly that. He has made clear that he would have signed A 3659, except that as a confiscatory ban, that bill goes further than even he dares to go--at least while he harbors aspirations of being the Republican nominee for President in 2016.
If, in other words, New Jersey's anti-gun legislators had been content to "merely" ban future sales of the rifles, and impose draconian regulation and registration of "grandfathered" .50 calibers, Christie would have cheerfully signed it.
Christie is hardly any less an anti-gun extremist than those who are excoriating him over the veto. He simply finds it politically expedient to hide it marginally better, and their condemnation of him helps him in that effort. One cannot help but wonder if that is the idea.
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