On the eve of his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced a change to the state’s gun laws.
Citing the case of Carol Bowne, a Camden County woman who was fatally stabbed by an ex-boyfriend while waiting for a firearms permit, Christie said Monday that Attorney General John Hoffman will file a regulatory change to fast-track permit applications for individuals “living under a direct or material threat,” NJ.com reports. The governor also signed an executive order to create the New Jersey Firearm Purchase and Permitting Study Commission, tasked with “reviewing the state’s laws, regulations and procedures pertaining to the ownership and possession of firearms and ensuring they do not infringe on New Jerseyans’ constitutional rights.”
Bowne’s death has become a political lightning rod for gun-rights advocates, who claim that a faster permitting process could have saved her life. Under the new rules, applicants who can identify a specific threat to their life would be issued a permit in 14 days, down from two months.
Christie, who announced his presidential candidacy at Livingston High School Tuesday morning, has had a checkered history with guns throughout his political career. As The Trace reported earlier this month:
In 2013, Christie himself called for a ban on the .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifle, though he ultimately vetoed a law doing just that when it passed the Legislature. This past December, his own state police proposed tighter restrictions on gun dealers’ inventory-keeping practices, though they said the governor’s office had nothing to do with the change.
Even when running for governor the first time, Christie told Sean Hannity on Fox News that New Jersey had found a range of consensus on gun policy, telling the conservative host that “we have an illegal-gun problem in New Jersey” and that he “wanted to make sure we don’t have an abundance of guns out there,” before quickly trying to change the subject to taxes and the state’s post-financial-crisis economy.
[Photo: Flickr user Gage Skidmore]