Last summer, after Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie showed independence from his own party when he embraced President Barack Obama. The move made Christie a target among his GOP colleagues for appearing to betray then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But Friday night Christie, a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate, seemed to move back to the right on gun issues when he vetoed three key gun bills in New Jersey.
Christie has defied the gun lobby in the past by defending New Jersey’s gun control laws, which have long been among the strictest in the nation. The state requires a background check and lifetime firearms identification card for any firearms purchase, an additional permit for any handgun purchase, and a waiting period of 30 days before another handgun may be bought.
But the New Jersey governor’s Friday veto of new gun control legislation backtracked on his previous record.
One of the bills would have prohibited .50 caliber rifles in New Jersey. The weapon is described as a “long-range anti-material” and “anti-personnel” firearm that “provides an inexpensive means of neutralizing lightly armored targets,” according to the product description from one Phoenix, Arizona-based manufacturer. California is currently the only state to ban .50 caliber rifles.
The other two New Jersey measures would have required state agencies to report lost and stolen gun data to a federal database, embedded information about gun permits onto an individual permit holder’s New Jersey driver license, created instant background checks within the state, and required safety training for New Jersey gun owners.
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