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“Why Not One? Why Not Zero?” Gov. Christie Vetoes N.J. Magazine Ban

Friday, July 11, 2014

On Wednesday last week, New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed legislation that would have banned the possession of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Such magazines are most commonly used in handguns and general-purpose semi-automatic rifles kept for defensive purposes.

Gov. Christie, who more than a year ago urged people to act like “grown-ups on this issue,” appeared to question the intellectual and emotional maturity of gun control supporters who pushed for the magazine ban. “This [ban] is the very embodiment of reform in name only,” Christie said. “It simply defies common sense to believe that imposing a new and entirely arbitrary number of bullets that can be lawfully loaded into a firearm will somehow eradicate, or even reduce, future instances of mass violence.” Christie added, “I will not support such a trivial approach to the sanctity of human life.”

Similarly, in a press release accompanying his veto, Christie said, “We will not settle for grandstanding reform in name only. . . . Mass violence will not end by changing the number of bullets loaded into a gun. It will end with a serious commitment to elevating our response to mental illness. . . . It will end by taking seriously our duty to incarcerate violent criminals, not by criminalizing the conduct of law abiding citizens to score political points.”

Responding to the unproven argument that a 10-round limit might save an 11th victim, Gov. Christie said (see video imbedded in the article), “If you take the logical conclusion of their argument, you go to zero, because every life is valuable. And so, why 10? Why not six? Why not two? Why not one? Why not zero? Why not just ban guns completely?” Christie added, “I understand their argument. I’ve heard their argument. I don’t agree with their argument. We have a fundamental disagreement about the effectiveness of what they’re advocating. And I’ve listened to them. I’ve met with them. I heard their arguments directly and personally. I’ve read a lot on this issue. And I made the decision that I made.”

Gun control supporters are, of course, outraged, and have resorted to their usual mean-spirited, personal attacks and insults to express their displeasure. Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D), co-sponsor of the ban along with Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D), accused Christie of “craven cowardice.” Since the U.S. Senate rejected President Obama’s gun control package last year, “coward” has become gun control supporters’ default slur for any elected official who doesn’t kowtow to their demands.

Meanwhile, the Violence Policy Center once again tried to build support for gun control among the fringe, accusing Christie of vetoing the ban for the sake of “gun industry profits,” failing to realize that a 10-round magazine costs just as much to manufacture as one holding 11 rounds.

Gun control supporters had argued that limiting magazine capacity would make it easier to overpower criminals attempting to reload. Some had even claimed that such occurrences were commonplace, when, in fact, they are exceedingly rare. In the nation’s worst multiple shooting, for example--at Virginia Tech, in 2007--the perpetrator reloaded more than a dozen times. His crime came to an end not because he was overpowered by his intended victims, but because he took his own life when the police arrived.

Similarly, the perpetrator of the so-called “Isla Vista” shootings in California this year had numerous 10-round magazines, and reloaded at will until committing suicide after being chased down by the police.

Regrettably, New Jersey still has a magazine capacity limit of 15 rounds, signed into law in 1990, along with its “assault firearm” ban by then-governor Jim Florio (D). The law potentially endangers good Americans in New Jersey by limiting their ability to defend themselves. While law enforcement officers generally carry spare magazines on their duty belts, private individuals often have only the magazine in their firearm’s magazine well.

Legislation to repeal New Jersey’s “assault firearm” and magazine bans passed the legislature in 1992. Gov. Florio’s veto of the repeal was overridden by the Assembly but upheld in the Senate the following year, largely along party lines. Since then, those who voted to repeal have been proven right. New Jersey’s murder rate has decreased only 16 percent, while the national murder rate has decreased 50 percent.

Gun control supporters have no interest in learning that lesson, or that voters see past their phony “guns safety” claims, but on Election Day this year, we can given them a refresher course nonetheless.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.