Presidential aspirations hamstring Christie on controversial gun bills, analyst says

Gov. Chris Christie has signed a package of gun bills into law, but he’s left the three most controversial measures sitting on his desk. They’re the least popular with gun rights advocates.


Prominent New Jersey politicians, including fellow Republican and former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, have called on Christie to sign the remaining measures, which include a ban on 50-caliber rifles, a requirement to report guns used in crimes to a federal database, and an overhaul of how gun permits are issued.

But analysts say the issue must be filtered through the aura that surrounds everything that Chris Christie does these days — that Chris Christie wants to run for president.

So while New Jerseyans on the whole would support these measures, there’s a second calculation to be made, says Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University Polling Institute.

“He can’t upset New Jersey voters. But he also can’t upset Republican voters who are going to go out, these very conservative bases in these primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire and so forth,” Murray explained. “So he’s trying to figure out how the best to deal with these.”

Murray says the governor has one political out — to conditionally veto the bills and send them back to the Legislature with requested changes.

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