Republican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey conditionally vetoed a bill on Nov. 9 which would have banned those convicted of domestic violence and individuals subject to a domestic violence restraining order from owning a gun.
In his rejection message, Christie suggested harsher penalties for perpetrators of domestic violence and making it easier for victims to buy guns.
“We should favor new and sensible improvements to our laws rather than restatements of existing protections,” Christie wrote, according to NJ.com.
Lawmakers who supported the bill were stunned by the veto.
"The purpose of this bill is very clear; it just gives the courts the mechanism to ensure that those who are convicted of domestic violence, if they have firearms in the home, that those are taken away,” Democratic Assemblywoman Gabriela M. Mosquera of New Jersey told The Huffington Post. "This bill is about protecting the victims of domestic violence. It’s common sense, and I’m very disappointed that the governor didn’t see it the same way.”
There’s no evidence to suggest victims of domestic violence are safer with guns.
“More than twice as many women were shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance than were murdered by strangers using guns, knives, or any other means,” reads a study conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, and published in the Journal of Trauma in 1992.
For a study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2004, UCLA researchers found a similar pattern among women at domestic violence shelters. Over one-third of the 417 respondents lived in a house with a gun, and nearly 80 percent of them said they felt unsafe because of that. In about two-thirds of those homes, the women's partners had used the gun against them, usually threatening to kill them. Just 7 percent of those respondents used the gun to defend themselves, usually by scaring off the abusive partner.
Even former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who was shot in the head at an event in 2011, couldn’t prevail over Christie, although she met with him in March to support the bill, NJ.com reports.
Christie’s veto was met with disappointment from advocacy groups.
"Many victims and survivors care for their abusers," Ruth Glenn, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said in a statement, according to The Huffington Post. "They will not shoot their abusers, even in self-defense or fear, and they do not always want their abusers to go to jail - they just want the abuse to stop."