Politics

New Jersey Senate Overrides Gov. Christie's Veto Of Gun Control Bill

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Gov. Chris ChristieGov. Chris Christie

On Oct. 22, the New Jersey Senate overrided Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a gun control bill.

This is the first time the state Senate has been able to gather enough votes, in more than 50 attempts, to undo a Christie veto since he took office in 2010, The New York Times reports.

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The override of the veto must still pass the State Assembly in order to take effect, and if it does, Christie’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination will have to change one of their strongest claims about the governor’s control of his party amongst a Democrat-controlled State House.

Christie said he had “vetoed 400 bills from a crazy liberal Democratic Legislature,” during a recent GOP debate.

In order to override a veto from Christie, Democrats and Republicans must come together — as they did on the gun control bill.

“It’s presidential politics,” Senate president Stephen M. Sweeney said, according to The Times. “The only person that objected to this bill was the governor.” 

The bill had passed both the Senate and the General Assembly in unanimous votes in June, before Christie vetoed it in August.

The gun control bill would require local law enforcement to be notified before anyone who has been committed to a mental health facility has their records expunged in order to purchase a firearm.

Police would be given the opportunity to weigh in on whether the expungement should be granted.

Federal law currently prohibits anyone who has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility to purchase a firearm. A judge may expunge their record if it is proven that the person is seen as unlikely to endanger the public.

"I cannot endorse a continued path of patchwork proposals and fragmented statutes that add further confusion to an already cumbersome area of law," Christie wrote in his conditional veto, according to Reuters.

Christie said on Oct. 23 that he would support legislation that is more comprehensive and included access to mental health treatment.

“Governor Christie is committed to a comprehensive approach, and he will continue to work with legislators of both parties to pass real mental health reforms which truly improve public safety,” Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for the governor, said in a statement cited by The Times.

The bill will go to the 80-member General Assembly in December for a vote. Fifty-four votes are needed to override the veto. Democrats hold 48 seats in the assembly, meaning six Republicans will need to show support in order for it to become law.

Sources: Reuters, The New York Times / Photo Source: Marc Nozell/Flickr, iprimages/Flickr