New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vehemently defended his position on the Second Amendment Saturday while attending a town hall meeting in Iowa.
Christie, who is running for president, was asked about being the chief executive in a state that has an institutional hostility toward anyone who exercises their right to keep and bear arms. The point the audience member, who wasn’t identified but claimed to be a member of the Iowa Gun Owners organization, is that how can one claim to be pro-gun yet preside over the anti-gun cesspool known as New Jersey.
Christie, who is keenly aware of the fact that gun owners show up at the polls, was quick to clarify that he is not responsible for the gun laws in the Garden State, moreover that he’s vetoed bills that would have further restricted the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“Come up with one fact that shows one thing I’ve done as governor in New Jersey that’s done anything, anything not to support the rights of legal gun owners,” said Christie before the crowd. “Don’t come in front of this group of people and lie about my record, which is what you did.”
The voter questioned Christie about bills to ban .50-caliber rifles, require government-issued IDs for all firearm purchases, establish a statewide registry of guns and gun owners, to which Christie said he opposed.
“I don’t know where you’re getting your information from, but your information is wrong,” Christie told the man.
The gun-rights advocate then asked Christie about pardoning Brain Fletcher, the North Carolina man who accidentally brought a firearm into New Jersey while responding to a work call for a power outage. Fletcher was arrested and now faces prison time for breaking the law.
“I’m not going to make that decision in 15 minutes nor should I. Nor should you want me to,” Christie said. “I see you shrugging your shoulders, why are you shrugging your shoulders about? You have your point of view, but have some facts about it.”
The man then asked Christie about an ad in 1995 that showed Christie criticizing an opponent for wanting to repeal New Jersey’s ban on “assault weapons.”
“If you haven’t changed your mind once in 20 years on any issue, then I’ll tell you, you’re not a thinking, breathing, living human being,” Christie fired back.
“If you want to debate me, come to the top 10, run for president and come to Cleveland on Aug. 6, and I’ll happily debate you,” he added.
Christie isn’t a tried and true pro-gunner, not by any means. He has a rocky relationship with the National Rifle Association, which snubbed him from speaking at the 2015 annual meetings and gave him a “C” grade before his reelection in 2013.
Based on his voting record, it might be fair to suggest that he is moderately pro-gun. But skeptics could argue that his recent voting record on the Second Amendment (vetoing gun control legislation) may have been a calculated move due to his presidential aspirations.