In a move that’s being seen as an attempt to get his 2016 presidential campaign back on the rails, Chris Christie announced this morning that he will be using his gubernatorial powers to begin dismantling some of the firearms laws in New Jersey. The state has inched closer to the top of the pile of “gun unfriendly” locations since Illinois’ laws have been slowly whittled away by court rulings, but the new rules might change all that. Christie’s main focus seems to be on streamlining the system for obtaining handgun licenses, which those in New Jersey are required to obtain for every handgun they purchase. He has also announced that he will be instructing the law enforcement agencies in the state to begin operating on a “shall issue” basis for all new concealed carry permits . . .
Over the last few months, Christie has been under constant attack from opposition politicians and mainstream media hosts for the “Bridgegate” scandal. Desperate to get the attention off the negative aspects of his reign over the state of New Jersey in time for the primaries and national convention, it looks like he’s trying to re-enforce his Republican credentials and place some distance between himself and the wildly unpopular president. What better way to do that then to dismantle some gun control laws? As Christie reportedly said, “if the president can act without congress then I can act without the legislature.”
The announcement was made during a press conference this morning at the State House in Trenton. According to NJ.com, the governor’s announcement was ostensibly to bring the state in line with the recent court rulings before any new lawsuits were filed.
“The recent court cases in Washington, D.C. as well as Chicago, Illinois have shown us that the laws we have on the books need to be re-examined, to make sure that we are adequately balancing the need for public safety with people’s right to own and carry guns” the Governor said. “Clearly the current ‘may issue’ system that we’ve implemented in New Jersey is no longer good enough, and we need to make some changes to stay on the right side of the law.
“Therefore, starting today I am instructing all law enforcement agencies to begin operating on a ‘shall issue’ basis. This will ensure that we can still keep guns out of the wrong hands, but make sure that we are in compliance with the law. I will also see to it that the legislature changes the law permanently at the first opportunity.”
Christie went on to detail another change he was making, namely instituting an instant approval process for new handgun licenses. While the requirement to obtain a license is a matter of state law and not something Christie can change on his own, he has started the process to implement a phone line where gun store owners can call and get a new pistol permit issued immediately for any customer that needs one. The process will still involve a more thorough background check than normal, but it should be much quicker than the old method. These pistol permits will also be issued on a “shall issue” basis.
When asked for comment about the possible political backlash, the Governor reportedly said “relax, buddy! It’s just April Fools!”