New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took a stand for Garden State gun owners on Wednesday, vetoing a bill that would have reduced the state’s limit on magazine capacity from 15 rounds down to 10.
Christie attacked the bill, A2006/S993, as “grandstanding reform” insinuating that the bill was nothing more than feel-good legislation that would do nothing to reduce gun-related crime.
“It simply defies common sense to believe that imposing a new and entirely arbitrary number of bullets that can be lawfully loaded into a firearm will somehow eradicate, or even reduce, future instances of mass violence,” Christie told reporters. “Nor is it sufficient to claim that a ten-round capacity might spare an eleventh victim.”
Instead of focusing on the number of rounds law-abiding gun owners can place in their lawfully obtained firearms, Christie suggested that lawmakers should focus on ways to address those suffering with mental illness, especially those who are a danger to themselves and others.
“Mass violence will not end by changing the number of bullets loaded into a gun,” explained the Republican governor. “It will end with a serious commitment to elevating our response to mental illness, a declaration that we will not let our discomfort with this disease threaten our children, our families, and our communities.”
To that end, Christie has proposed policy to streamline the process for involuntarily committing potentially dangerous individuals, improve the standards for involuntary outpatient treatment and better train first responders to confront and identify those suffering with mental health issues.
The nation’s gun lobby, which vehemently opposed the measure on the grounds that it would be ineffective at reducing gun crime, was very pleased with Christie’s decision.
“The Obama-Bloomberg gun control schemes only restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens without making anyone safer,” said Catherine Mortensen, a spokesperson for the NRA in an email to Guns America. “The NRA applauds Gov. Christie’s veto of the proposed restriction on magazines in New Jersey.”
Not surprisingly, gun-control groups were displeased with the veto believing that prohibiting law-abiding citizens from owning magazines holding more than 10 rounds would somehow keep criminals, drug dealers and sociopaths from obtaining the millions and millions of 10-plus round magazines already in circulation not only around the country but the world.
“Governor Christie has chosen to put gun industry profits ahead of saving lives,” said Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand in a press release.
“A ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines would protect law enforcement and the general public, and it would limit the firepower available to criminals and mass shooters,” she continued. “By vetoing this bill, Governor Christie has turned his back on an opportunity to improve public safety in communities across the state.”