Chris Christie on Gun Control



Fight violent crime at federal level; fill federal prisons

Q: Democrats blame the big increase in school shootings on easy access to guns. They also blame Republicans for blocking gun control legislation. What would President Christie do?

CHRISTIE: I ran a United States Attorney's Office in a state where there is significant urban crime. And the problem is not going to be solved by more money. The problem is that these prosecutors in these localities, in the states, are refusing to do their job, and to arrest violent criminals. So, what a President Christie would do is appoint an Attorney General who would instruct each of the 93 US attorneys that they are to take over the prosecution of violent crime in every one of those cities that are failing to do so. We have plenty of room in the federal prisons to lock up these violent criminals and clean up what's going on all across this country in these individual cities.

Source: Fox News 2023 Republican primary debate in Milwaukee , Aug 23, 2023

Criminals don't follow the law; that's why they're criminals

I really think that we need to have law enforcement become much more sensitive to what they're seeing from a mental health perspective with people in the community. Because, in the end, those people almost always send off signs and signals. Now, I wish I had a better answer than that. I really do. And I've really searched my soul and searched the law as a lawyer to say what could be done that would make it better. But criminals don't follow the law. That's why they're criminals.
Source: CNN Town Hall: interviews of 2024 presidential candidates , Jun 12, 2023

Vetoed a statewide I.D. system for gun owners

Sen. Marco RUBIO: Unfortunately, Gov. Christie has endorsed many of the ideas that Barack Obama supports, whether it is Common Core or gun control or the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor or the donation he made to Planned Parenthood. Our next president, and our Republican nominee cannot be someone who supports those positions.

CHRISTIE: If you look at my record as governor of New Jersey, I have vetoed a 50-caliber rifle ban. I have vetoed a reduction this clip size. I vetoed a statewide I.D. system for gun owners and I pardoned, six out-of-state folks who came through our state and were arrested for owning a gun legally in another state so they never have to face charges. Two years ago, Marco called me a conservative reformer that New Jersey needed. That was before he was running against me. Now that he is, he's changed his tune. I'm never going to change my tune. I like Marco Rubio. He would be a heck of a lot better president than Hillary Rodham Clinton would ever be.

Source: Fox Business 2016 Republican 2-tier debate , Jan 14, 2016

Executive Orders on guns isn't democracy; it's dictatorship

The president wants to do things without the consent of the people. That's not a democracy. That's a dictatorship. I don't think the founders put the Second Amendment as number two by accident. I think they made the Second Amendment the second amendment because they thought it was just that important. In New Jersey, what we have done is to make it easier to get a concealed carry permit. We've done it through regulatory action, not signing unconstitutional executive orders.
Source: Fox Business Republican 2-tier debate , Jan 14, 2016

Gun restrictions based on terror watchlists is a state issue

Q: In the wake of the Paris attacks, Democrats are arguing that if someone is on a terror watch list or a no- fly list, they shouldn't be able to buy a gun. According to the Government Accountability Office, over the past decade, suspected terrorists exploited a loophole more than 2,000 times. As governor, you signed legislation to close the loophole in New Jersey. Do you support Dianne Feinstein's legislation to do this nationwide?

CHRISTIE: I think these are state-by-state determinations.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 22, 2015

Gun laws ineffective; focus on mental health

Q: You heard Donald Trump question whether tough gun laws make a difference. But look at your state. It has some of the toughest gun laws and one of the lowest murder rates. Isn't there a correlation?

CHRISTIE: I don't think there is. But I'll tell you this, I'm very concerned about the mental health side of this. Let's do some tough things on mental health, let's make involuntary commitment of people who speak violently easier for doctors. I think that makes sense. But let's remember something else, in many of the places around this country where they have the toughest gun laws, they have the highest violent crime rates. Violence in America that's happened on our streets in our cities, like Chicago, up 19 percent, the murder rate. New York, up 11 percent. And you have some of the most aggressive gun laws in cities like that. So let's enforce the law.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Oct 4, 2015

Vetoed gun laws that were not about public safety

I'm a law enforcement guy, and so I always believe in making sure that public safety comes first. But much of what I have seen over the last six years in the gun area has not been about public safety. It's been about grandstanding by politicians. And that's why I vetoed the .50 caliber rifle. That's why I vetoed a reduction in the magazine capacity from 15 to 10. That's why I vetoed a statewide I.D. card for gun owners.
Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 2, 2015

Include mental health records in gun background checks

Christie wants mental health records included in background checks at the time of gun purchases. The governor vetoed a ban on a powerful model of assault weapon after originally advocating for the ban in the aftermath of mass shootings in Newtown, Connec
Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Jun 30, 2015

Focus on violence control, not gun control

Q: You support some gun controls. Why?

A: When you look at what we've done in New Jersey, we want to control violence. And some of that may involve firearms, but a lot of it doesn't. In fact, my focus has been on making sure that mental health is done in a much more aggressive way. Every time we see one of these incidents happen across our country, it is almost exclusively with a deeply disturbed person at the helm, and what we need to do is be much more aggressive about how we deal with mental health issues in this country. So I am for violence control.

Q: But gun control is part of it.

A: Well, it can be. And I've signed some of those measures, but I've also vetoed measures that I thought were overreaching and not consistent with 2nd Amendment rights. It is looking at these things case by case, to see does it make common sense, does it control violence? We need to not pander on these issues. We need to have adults in the room who make decisions based upon controlling violence in our society.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 interview of Chris Christie , Nov 10, 2013

Vetoed outright ban on Barrett .50 caliber rifle

On gun control, Christie explained why he vetoed an outright ban on the powerful Barrett .50 caliber rifle, even though he initially proposed a ban on future purchases. He blamed Democrats for going back on their word during negotiations with him. "If they break a deal with me, then there's going to be ramifications," Christie said. "They didn't keep their word on this."

Buono said she believes Christie changed his mind after he received a letter from gun rights advocates in New Hampshire, the site of the nation's first presidential primary.

Source: Newark Star-Ledger on 2013 N.J. Governor debates , Oct 16, 2013

No criminalization of new classes of firearms

Excerpts from legislation: Revises definition of "destructive device" to include weapons of 50 caliber or greater. The current definition is 60 caliber.
  • Exemptions for antique firearms or muzzleloader rifles; these firearms would continue with the current 60 caliber restriction.
  • Individuals who lawfully own one of these newly prohibited firearms have one year in which to dispose of them.
  • Establishes a buyback program to facilitate the voluntary surrender of these firearms.

    Excerpts from veto message: New Jersey already has the second strictest gun laws in the US. In early 2013, the NJ SAFE Task Force recommended narrowly limiting one specific type of firearm: the Barrett 50 caliber long-range rifle. This bill goes well beyond that recommendation and would instead criminalize the ownership of a whole class of firearms.

    Legislative outcome: Bill passed Senate 23-16-1; Bill passed House 46-29-4; Absolute Veto Sept. 9

    Source: New Jersey legislative voting records: A 3659 , Sep 9, 2013

    We already have too many firearms in our community

    We already have too many firearms in our community In April 1993 Christie announced that he would challenge incumbent state senator John Dorsey, an 18-year lawmaker, in the Republican primary. It was a big and brassy move because Dorsey was the Senate majority leader. We already have too many firearms in our community NJ's ban on semiautomatic weapons. The ban was among the signature pieces of legislation passed.

    "The issue which has energized me to get into this race is the recent attempt by certain Republican legislators to repeal NJ's ban on assault weapons.

    Source: Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p. 45-46 , Jun 5, 2012

    2009: No right-to-carry cross-state reciprocity

    The governor opposed a move in Congress that would effectively override NJ's strict laws against concealed weapons although NJ's entire Republican House delegation voted for it. The "right-to-carry reciprocity" bill would allow anyone with a valid permit to carry in their home state the same right in any other state. In NJ holders of carry permits from other states must lock their guns up when entering the Garden State.

    "I believe that each state should have the right to make firearms laws as they see fit. I don't believe it's right for the federal government to get into the middle of this and decide firearms laws for the people of the state of NJ," Christie told "The Record" in July 2009.

    Source: Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p.253 , Jun 5, 2012

    Favors gun control measures from law-enforcement perspective

    In 2009, Christie said on Fox News with Sean Hannity that he supported some gun control measures:

    Q: Are there any issues where you are moderate to left as a Republican?

    A: I favor some of the gun-control measures we have in NJ.

    Q: Bad idea.

    A: We have a densely populated state, and there's a big handgun problem in NJ. On certain gun control issues, looking at it from a law-enforcement perspective, seeing how many police officers were killed, we have an illegal gun problem in NJ.

    Q: Should every citizen in your state be allowed to get a licensed weapon if they want one?

    A: In NJ, that's not going to happen.

    Q: Why?

    A: With the Democratic legislature we have, there's no way those type of things--

    Q: Would you support it?

    A: What I support are commonsense laws that will allow people to protect themselves, but I also am very concerned about the safety of our police officers on the streets, very concerned. And I want to make sure that we don't have an abundance of guns out there"

    Source: Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p.253-254 , Jun 5, 2012

    Other candidates on Gun Control: Chris Christie on other issues:
    2024 Republican Presidential Candidates:
    Ryan Binkley (R-TX)
    Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND)
    Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)
    Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
    Larry Elder (R-CA;withdrew)
    Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC)
    Rep. Will Hurd (R-FL;withdrew)
    Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR)
    Perry Johnson (R-IL)
    Mayor Steve Laffey (R-RI)
    Former V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN;withdrew)
    Vivek Ramaswamy (R-OH)
    Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
    Secy. Corey Stapleton (R-MT)
    Mayor Francis Suarez (R-FL;withdrew)
    Former Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)

    2024 Democratic and 3rd-party primary candidates:
    Pres. Joe Biden (D-DE)
    V.P.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (I-NY)
    Chase Oliver (L-GA)
    Rep.Dean Phillips (D-MN)
    Jill Stein (Green)
    Cornel West (Green Party)
    Kanye West (Birthday Party)
    Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
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