Chris Christie spins veto on gun control measure he originated

Chris Christie has returned a bill to the Assembly on increased gun regulations. (Photo: Governor's Office/ Mykwain Gainey)

Chris Christie held up his Aug. 2013 veto of a ban on .50 caliber rifles as proof of his pro-2A credentials, although his office suggested the ban to lawmakers four months prior. (Photo: Governor’s Office/ Mykwain Gainey)

In this week’s sixth Republican presidential debate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fended off critics by taking credit for vetoing a gun ban that his office proposed to begin with.

The comments came during Thursday’s debate when U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, called out the Governor saying, “Unfortunately, Governor Christie has endorsed many of the ideas that Barack Obama supports, whether it is Common Core or gun control or the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor or the donation he made to Planned Parenthood.”

To this, Christie responded in-depth, first categorically denying he ever supported Sotomayor or donated to Planned Parenthood, then recited a list of pro-gun measures he delivered on as New Jersey’s chief executive before taking on Common Core.

“Third, if you look at my record as governor of New Jersey, I have vetoed a .50 caliber rifle ban,” said Christie. “I have vetoed a reduction [in] clip size. I vetoed a statewide I.D. system for gun owners and I pardoned, six out-of-state folks who came through our state and were arrested for owning a gun legally in another state so they never have to face charges.”

While it is true Christie has vetoed a number of gun control measures and pardoned several gun owners caught up in New Jersey’s draconian firearms statutes, the mention that he scuttled a bill to include a ban on .50 caliber rifles failed to disclose it was his office that suggested the ban in the first place.

As noted by the Washington Post‘s fact checkers, the National Review and Mediaite, Gov. Christie’s own plan to combat gun violence in April 2013 included, “Banning future purchases of the Barrett .50 Caliber (New Jersey law would ban any weapon that is substantially identical to the Barrett .50 Caliber),” among others.

However, just four months after he offered up the ban proposal to lawmakers, Christie vetoed it along with two other gun control measures.

At the time, Christie said in a statement to the General Assembly that the bill, “will not further our collective fight against crime, but serve only to confuse law-abiding gun owners with the threat of imprisonment for lawful recreation. I cannot approve of that result.”

Christie also noted that .50 caliber rifles do not pose a threat to public safety because criminals rarely, if ever, use them in the commission of a crime.

“Tellingly, the Legislature points to no instance of this class of firearms being used by even a single criminal in New Jersey,” Christie said.

Finally, in his remarks at the time of his veto, Christie criticized the legislature’s haphazard and politically motivated approach on guns.

In a Fox interview with Sean Hannity earlier this month, Christie, who served as U.S. attorney in New Jersey from January 2002 to December 2008 before launching his first campaign for governor, explained that his views on gun control have evolved since being in office.

“My position’s changed,” said Christie.

The 2016 Republican National Convention will begin July 18 in Cleveland, Ohio.