New Jersey Governor Chris Christie answers a question during a campaign event in Manville, New Jersey, Monday, May 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed ten measures related to gun control, including some that are mildly controversial in the pro-gun community: one bill would mandate that New Jersey’s background-check system cross-reference the federal terror watch list, while another would call for the submission of New Jersey mental health records into the federal background check system.
But some crucial bills remain unsigned, including a “national model” for universal background checks, and a ban on .50-caliber weapons. Christie’s office told The Nation last week that no decision has yet been made on those bills—and this week, many of the national forces in the gun control debate are starting to ramp up the pressure.
Mark Kelly, the husband of former Representative Gabby Giffords and a leading voice in the gun law reform movement—not to mention a native New Jerseyan—penned an op-ed in the Newark Star-Ledger today asking Christie to sign the bills:
Gov. Chris Christie and I have much in common.
We’re both straight-talking, no-nonsense sons of New Jersey who grew up in neighboring towns. We’ve devoted years to public service and protecting American communities. We have wives and kids we love dearly. I haven’t always agreed with everything he’s said or done, but I’d like to think we share a belief that we must prevent gun violence and also protect gun rights—and that there are moderate, common-sense policies that do both.
That’s why I’m asking the governor to sign the “centerpiece” gun safety bill sitting on his desk. The bill is simple and sensible: It would expand background checks on gun purchases and safety training for gun owners, and tighten penalties for letting guns fall into the hands of children. These basic measures are supported by just about every group you could think of: gun owners and non-gun owners, Democrats and Republicans and independents, business owners and faith leaders, law enforcement and medical professionals.