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Gun owners win with Gov. Christie’s blunt veto

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a gun control bill Thursday and his veto message was blunt.
Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a gun control bill Thursday and his veto message was blunt.Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie yesterday vetoed anti-gun legislation that would have further reduced legal magazine capacity, and in the process he delivered a message to Garden State gun prohibitionists that amounted to a much-needed splash of cold water for gun control fanatics everywhere.

Anti-gunners in and beyond the borders of New Jersey still want to treat the right to keep and bear arms as a heavily-regulated government privilege, say gun rights advocates. The proposed New Jersey gun law was an example, and Christie's veto was a smackdown of extremist gun control.

As the nation prepares to celebrate another Independence Day and the founding of a nation that would not have been possible were it not for an armed citizenry – the militia, Minutemen and individual frontiersmen who formed the “rag tag army” that defeated the most powerful military force in the world at the time – Christie’s veto seems well-timed. Elites have been trying to disarm the citizens ever since.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, lauded Christie’s veto. To him, it’s a win not just for gun owners, but for common sense.

Likewise, Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, observed, “The Governor clearly recognizes the difference between legislation that punishes violent criminals vs. legislation that targets the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

“According to proponents of this bill,” Christie said in his blunt veto message, “reducing the number of rounds that can be fired from a gun will reduce death and injury during an episode of mass violence. This idea is not new. In 1990, New Jersey enacted a law reducing the legal capacity of ammunition magazines to fifteen rounds. Now, the Legislature claims a new capacity is necessary in light of recent and tragic incidents of violence.

“These advocates argue that forcing an unstable, untreated, and likely clinically ill shooter to pause to reload during a rampage will humanely spare lives,” he added. “This is the very embodiment of reform in name only.”

The recent attack in Santa Barbara underscores Christie’s remarks. Spree killer Elliot Rodger used ten-round magazines, after also having gone through three background checks and three waiting periods to take possession of his handguns under California law. Those restrictions are cornerstones of the gun prohibition lobby’s solution to criminal violence.

But Christie didn’t stop with a veto pen. He rewrote the legislation, according to the Newark Star-Ledger, inserting several recommended changes to New Jersey’s mental health system.

In addition, Christie suggested a “new standard for involuntary commitment” of mental health patients that might appeal to John Carlson, Seattle morning talk host at KVI. He has lately argued for a change in Washington law that would allow for easier commitment of dangerously mentally ill people, the kind who shoot up offices, coffee shops and college campuses.

Gun control advocate Mark Barden, father of a 2012 Sandy Hook victim, was in Trenton yesterday to deliver thousands of petitions from people all over the country, asking Christie to sign the legislation. He told reporters, “We want him to know that we are watching, we are aware and we are engaged.”

The majority of those signatures were from out-of-state, with only about one in five being from New Jersey residents, according to the newspaper. There were some 55,000 signatures, “including 10,000 from New Jersey,” the story said.

While it is back to the proverbial drawing board for Garden State gun prohibitionists, they are showing no signs of surrender. Christie’s Thursday veto is a setback, but only that.