Moms Demand Action Respond to Christie’s Veto Of Gun Violence Prevention Bills
Saturday, August 17, 2013 • 10:54pm
Earlier this month, Governor Christie gained measured praise from the gun violence prevention community and the vast majority of NJ voters when he signed 10 gun related bills into law. However, the activists were quick to tell the Governor that he had more work to do and the most important of the bills still sat on his desk. Late Friday evening, Governor Christie vetoed the most important measures.
For months, the NJ legislature contemplated and negotiated gun violence prevention bills. Members of the NJ Senate and Assembly considered the opinions of multiple experts and activists in formulating common sense solutions to gun violence. While NJ has long been considered a leader on gun violence prevention, our legislature sought to create landmark legislation. Many recognized that Governor Christie had competing interests as the bills went to his desk -- his dreams of the national leadership versus doing what is best as the elected leader of The Garden State. On Friday, those political aspirations proved an insurmountable road block to his common sense - Chris Christie has failed his home state.
When we stop and think about what these bills could have done for NJ, it's even more difficult to understand the Governor's actions. One provision would have mandated firearm safety training for new permit applicants. Gun rights activists balked at the provision claiming it would have "suspended Second Amendment rights without proof of firearms training." That childish spin on the provision, demonstrates how little those in the gun lobby consider the safety of those around them. These extremists care for their own personal safety (and justify every size and caliber of firearm in so doing), but simple safety training to ensure the well-being of those around them seems too much responsibility. Too often we read of "accidents" in which someone, often a child, is shot because a weapon wasn't stored or handled properly. Especially in a densely populated state like New Jersey, the habits and considerations of our neighbors do matter.
Moreover, the Governor's logic in striking down a groundbreaking smartcard background check system is faulty. He compared the technology, which would need development, to the 2002 “Personalized Handgun” law that requires New Jersey to adopt guns equipped with technology ensuring that that weapon can only be fired by a recognized user. He wrote, "the technology didn’t exist then, and it doesn’t now 11 years later. The law has never been used in its existence. Similarly, while the smartcard may be a well-intentioned idea, it is unworkable and impractical." That personalized handgun technology is on the verge of being market-ready, and when it is, NJ will have legislation in place to immediately implement the technology. New Jersey was ahead of its time 11 years ago; our current governor is holding us back. If only Governor Christie had the foresight of his predecessor governors.
Governor Christie also vetoed a bill that would have banned the .50 caliber sniper rifle -- a gun so powerful it could inflict mass destruction in many areas throughout New Jersey. NJ voters long ago supported an Assault Weapons Ban, and a ban on the .50 caliber rifle is consistent with that ban.
Chris Christie let down more than New Jersey residents yesterday. Because NJ has always been a leader in gun violence prevention, the state has and can continue to serve as a model for our country as more and more people around the United States stand up and declare that they support common sense legislation.
Yesterday was a sad day for New Jersey. Garden State voters have consistently sought strong gun violence prevention, and Governor Christie will feel the impact of their disappointment at the polls in November.