New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed a bill late Friday which aimed to ban .50-caliber long-range rifles from the state. Last December, after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Christie supported the assault weapon ban.
Dissatisfied gun control advocates say Christie caved to GOP pressure. Although he proposed a ban on the sale of Barrett .50 caliber rifles in the spring, Christie said the bill ultimately went too far. It would have required people who already owned the rifle to forfeit it.
“[The bill] will not further our collective fight against crime, but serve only to confuse law-abiding gun owners with the threat of imprisonment for lawful recreation,” Christie said in a veto message to the General Assembly, “I cannot approve of that result.”
Democratic State Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver called the veto “a failure in leadership” and said Christie was only doing it to please Republicans.
Christie is up for reelection in November.
“Banning these battlefield-style weapons was designed to keep these highly destructive firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals and terrorists,” Oliver said in a statement. “Instead, the governor has shunned this notion and bowed to the pressure of right wing conservatives.”
Christie gutted another law proposed by Democrats to overhaul the state’s firearms permit system. The measure would link law enforcement records to gun purchases by use of digital smart card ID. Christie claimed the technology needed to make that system work did not exist.
A week ago, Christie sign 10 less restrictive gun violence bills, including a ban on the sale of firearms to people on the federal terrorism watch lists. According to the Washington Post, New Jersey already has some of the strictest gun laws in the U.S.