Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who survived being shot in the head by a disturbed gunman in 2011, met with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday as part of a push for state legislators to pass stronger laws to protect women and families from gun violence.
Before the meeting at the state house in Trenton, N.J., Giffords participated in a roundtable discussion about the issue with several women leaders and advocates including state Sen. Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Gabby Mosquera, both Democrats.
Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey have introduced legislation that would mandate domestic abusers to surrender their guns if they are convicted of domestic abuse or if a domestic violence restraining order is in effect. Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, has not made his position on the legislation known.
“Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women. That makes gun violence a women’s issue - for mothers, for families, for me and you,” said Giffords at the event.
The specifics of Christie’s private meeting with Giffords were not made public. But the governor’s spokesman, Kevin Roberts, said “Governor Christie has incredible respect and admiration for the courage and perseverance of former Congresswoman Giffords and he was honored to have the opportunity to meet with her this afternoon and discuss domestic violence and gun violence issues.” Mark Prentice, a spokesman for Giffords’ group “Americans for Responsible Solutions” confirmed the private meeting took place but would give no further details out of respect for the governor.
The meeting is notable in that Christie vetoed a gun control bill last July that would have banned magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition. At the time, Christie said the restriction on number of bullets was “trivial” and argued such a limit would not prevent future mass shootings. Before the veto, parents of children who died in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut went to Trenton to deliver a petition with over 55,000 signatures and requested a meeting with Gov. Christie. They were told the governor was unavailable.
Some speculated at the time that the veto was done with an eye to 2016. GOP primary voters are typically unwavering in their support of gun rights, and Christie, who is considered one of the more moderate GOP hopefuls, has been skewered by the right for his stance on guns in the past.
New Jersey actually has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the state received an A- in its gun law score card.