New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, DC on Feb. 26, 2015.
Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

Christie adopts a new posture on guns

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) spoke with Republican donors over the weekend in South Florida, urging them to be wary of presidential hopefuls who’ve flip-flopped on important issues.
Keep that in mind when considering the latest report on the unannounced presidential hopeful (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up).
Gov. Chris Christie said he would consider revisiting New Jersey’s strict gun laws if he had a Republican-led legislature.
In response to a question about his support for the Second Amendment, the potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate said that New Jersey’s Democrat-led Legislature has sent him only bills that further restrict these rights, many of which he has vetoed.
Asked about the Second Amendment at a town-hall meeting yesterday, the governor told voters, “Send me a Republican legislature. And with a Republican legislature you’ll have a governor who will respect, appropriately, the rights of law-abiding citizens to be able to protect ourselves…. No rights are given to you by government. All our rights are given to you by God.”
The theological reference was a bit odd under the circumstances. Even if Christie genuinely believes the Second Amendment creates a God-given entitlement to firearm ownership, it’s up to policymakers – humans, in positions of governmental authority – to shape and place limits on this right.
In fact, the Garden State governor used to know that. As the Wall Street Journal noted, Christie used to say he supports “strictly enforcing” New Jersey’s existing gun-control laws – policies the governor now seems ready to roll back with the help of GOP lawmakers.
What’s more, this isn’t the first time Christie has played political games with gun-safety measures.
As we discussed last summer, in early 2013, not long after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Christie endorsed a series of gun reforms, including a ban on .50-cabliber weapons, saying there was no need for consumers to purchase these kinds of firearms. It was a sensible point – .50-cabliber weapons fire ammunition the size of carrots, have the capacity to pierce steel plate armor from several hundred yards away, and can even shoot down airplanes.
Later that year, New Jersey’s Democratic legislature approved a ban on .50-cabliber weapons. Christie vetoed it. Soon after, the governor also vetoed a proposal to ban magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
It’s almost as if Christie, the closer he came to launching a presidential campaign, “evolved” on issues involving gun safety, moving to the right in the hopes of currying favor with the GOP base.