Weeks after Carol Bowne was stabbed to death by her jealous ex-boyfriend while waiting for New Jersey to approve her gun permits, Governor Chris Christie is pushing to expedite application processing, but only for those who demonstrate that there is a threat against them.
On Monday night, Governor Chris Christie directed the New Jersey Attorney General to file a regulatory change (click here to see it) expediting firearm application processing for victims of domestic violence, violent crimes, and “those who have a demonstrable threat against them.”
“I have always said that when there are sensible changes to improve our laws and the fair administration of justice, I will take action, and that is what I am doing today,” Christie explained in an accompanying press release. “The Constitution grants and our courts have affirmed the individual right to bear arms as a fundamental right, and that is all the more important for those who are victims of violence or under threat. This commonsense step will protect the rights of victims and people at risk of violent acts by giving them priority, while ensuring the core protections of the permitting process remain fully in effect.”
Pardon us if we’re just a little cynical over the timing of Chrstie’s sudden desire to show a limited amount of sympathy for the self-defense rights of New Jersey citizens as he announces his 2016 Presidential run.
This comes across less as a directive to help New Jersey’s crime victims, and more as a very thinly-veiled attempt to pander to Republican gun owners who have (justifiable) skepticism about Christie’s real respect for the Second Amendment.
Unfortunately, Christie’s track record with gun rights is not a very good one, and appears to be based more on political expediency than principles. It is not one that we can have any great deal of confidence in as gun owners, and it would take extraordinary measures for him to drum up any sort of enthusiasm from gun right supporters.
What could Christie promise to American gun owners that might make them consider him a second look?
- A solemn promise to sign any concealed carry reciprocity legislation that passes the House and Senate (both of which, at this point, are projected to remain in republican control).
- A commitment to sign any legislation removing the “sporting purposes” language used to deny the importation of firearms and ammunition.
- A solemn promise to veto any bill from Congress mandating “universal background checks,” which are nothing more or less than a de facto registration scheme.
- A commitment to opening an independent counsel’s investigation into Operation Fast and Furious
- Taking the initiative to promise to roll back some particularly absurd portions of existing federal gun control laws, such as the Hughes Amendment (a controversially-passed part of the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 which banned the manufacture of automatic weapons even for ATF-vetted citizens), or removing suppressors and short-barreled rifles (SBRs) from the National Firearms Act of 1934 and treating them as regular firearms as the rest of the civilized world does.
It is going to take truly extraordinary measures such as this for Christie to get traction with a substantial percentage of the 100 million gun owners in the United States, but I don’t see any indications that he’s ready to make such commitments.
Christie’s first finely-honed campaign video suggests that he’s going to play it safe, and attempt a populist, middle-ground approach of not taking hard stands, and attempting to appeal to everyone.
He won’t win over gun owners if he goes that route, and he won’t come close to winning the primaries.
Of course, that’s his problem… not ours.