New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is irate over the murder of hairdresser Carol Bowne, which many blame—at least partially—on the failure of New Jersey law enforcement to process her three gun permits in a timely manner as required by law.

Christie says that he wishes he had the power of a benevolent dictator to sweep aside the Garden State’s absurdly restrictive gun laws which favor criminals over law-abiding citizens:

Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday said he regrets that New Jersey “is not yet a dictatorship” that would allow him to scrap the state’s tough gun laws.

The Republican governor also said Democrats in the state legislature “are going to have to answer” for New Jersey’s laws, mentioning the death last week of a New Jersey woman killed while awaiting a handgun license.

Taking questions from the audience at the Saint Anselm Institute of Politics, Christie was responding to a question from a man concerned about the murder of a Berlin Township woman, Carol Bowne, 39, who feared for her safety and applied for a gun license in mid-April, but was killed by her ex-boyfriend in her own driveway during the two-month long licensing process.

“I’m dealing with a Democratic legislature — that’s what New Jersey’s given me,” said Christie. “They have a very, very different view of the Second Amendment than I do. But they’re going to have to answer for these things. There was, apparently, a protest this weekend, in front of the Senate President’s home, for folks regarding the Carol Bowne situation.”

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is an unabashed supporter of New Jersey’s dangerously strict gun control laws, and protests outside him home are unlikely to sway his anti-liberty views, unless they continue to grow to a deafening degree… and we certainly hope that they do.

Many of Gov. Christie’s critics are cynical of his tough talk in favor of gun rights, tying them to his Presidential aspirations. These criticisms are not without merit.

While Christie has pardoned two people in recent months to keep them from serving long prison sentences after technical violations of New Jersey’s gun laws, he only did so after gun right supporters launched nation-wide campaigns to call attention to the cases of Shaneen Allen and Steffon Josey-Davis.

Christie’s Second Amendment record as governor is a mixed bag. He has vetoed several gun control laws (Bans on .50 BMG rifles, further reductions in magazine capacity), but has been supportive of  New Jersey’s so-called “assault weapons” ban and feels there are “too many guns” in the state.

Christie supporters may claim that he is as “pro-Second Amendment” as one can be in reflexively liberal and largely anti-gun New Jersey and still win office, and that may be a valid point. Pragmatically, politicians who have all the “right” views but fail to win office are not in a position to help us reassert our rights, while politicians who win office can help us move incrementally in the right direction.

But Christie is the governor, and as such, has the executive power to flex to ensure that law enforcement agencies are following the law when it comes to processing firearms permits within 30 days as required by law, and he could presumably order his state attorney general to consider “self-defense” as a “justifiable need” to ensure that more people can obtain concealed carry permits under New Jersey’s absurd “may issue” (almost never issue) permitting scheme.

When Governor Christie starts using his office to actively champion the self-defense rights of New Jersey citizens we’ll be happy to take a second look at his support of the Second Amendment.

Until then, tough talk alone simply doesn’t cut it.