Christie Kills New Jersey 'Smart Gun' Legislation With Veto

  • Governor killed measure designed to soften 2002 guns mandate
  • Christie prepares for New Hampshire trip as veto announced

Governor Chris Christie, whose positions on gun control have become more conservative as he runs for the Republican presidential nomination, vetoed a bill that would have required New Jersey firearms dealers to stock weapons that can only be fired by authorized users.

The measure was designed to soften a 2002 law signed by Democratic Governor James McGreevey that mandated that all handguns sold in New Jersey have so-called smart gun technology three years after it has been deemed viable. Opposition from gun-rights groups have kept the personalized weapons from the market. The bill would have required dealers to carry just one smart gun model.

Joelle Farrell, a spokeswoman for Christie, declined to give his rationale behind the "pocket veto,” which occurs when governors don’t act on measures at the close of two-year legislative sessions. The governor, who is a former federal prosecutor, is preparing to return tomorrow to early voting New Hampshire as he mounts an uphill fight for his party’s nomination.

"Having the legislature pass more than 100 bills in such a hasty and scrambled way, praying for them to be rubber stamped, is never a good formula for effectively doing public business," she said in an e-mail.

Senator Loretta Weinberg, a Teaneck Democrat who sponsored the 2002 law and its proposed revision, said Christie’s pocket veto leaves the more stringent regulation in place.

“It would be nice if the governor spent enough time in New Jersey to learn what a pocket veto of this bill means,” Weinberg said in an interview. “Under the new bill, nobody has to buy it and nobody has to use it. All it’s saying is that retailers have to carry at least one model.”

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