N.J. Legislature sues Gov. Christie over concealed-carry regulation

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 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answers a question Thursday, June 16, 2016, in Trenton, N.J. Christie said he plans to fight lawmakers who approved a measure to block administrative changes to streamline the gun permit process for residents. (Mel Evans/AP Photo)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answers a question Thursday, June 16, 2016, in Trenton, N.J. Christie said he plans to fight lawmakers who approved a measure to block administrative changes to streamline the gun permit process for residents. (Mel Evans/AP Photo)

Lawmakers in Trenton are firing back at Gov. Chris Christie who, in March, made it easier for New Jersey residents to qualify for concealed carry gun permits.

The Democrat-led Legislature filed a lawsuit against the Republican governor in state court Friday, claiming he violated the lawmaker’s intent when he relaxed the regulation stipulating who qualified for the permits.

In the fall, the Assembly and Senate passed bills clarifying its position on the gun law, effectively warning Christie not to move forward with the March rule change.

“While it is any governor’s right to enact the laws based on the legislation we pass, they can’t change our legislative intent,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, D-Camden.

Under the previous regulation, New Jersey residents had to demonstrate they were targeted by a specific threat — such as domestic violence — to qualify for a concealed carry permit.

Christie amended state regulation to say that anyone who perceived generalized “serious threats” — even if they were not directed specifically — met the requirements for a permit.

“What the governor is articulating,” said Greenwald,” is that if you’re a pizza delivery person in an urban area where you believe — whether it’s true or not — that there’s a high crime rate, you ought to be able to carry a gun and take public safety and law into your own hands.”

A spokesman for Christie declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.

But last year, Christie had a simple message for the state lawmakers blocking his push to loosen New Jersey’s restrictive gun control laws: “They’re wrong, and we’ll fight them.”

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