Today, Governor Chris Christie took a historic step on behalf of the state’s beleaguered gun owners by vetoing A.3689 and S.816. These two anti-gun bills were opposed by NRA in recent weeks but were ultimately adopted by anti-gun politicians in Trenton. Gov. Christie issued conditional vetoes which return the bills back to the Legislature with suggested language, which if adopted, would drastically improve a pair of draconian gun laws. If the Legislature rejects the Governor’s suggested amendments, the bills will die.
Today’s action solidifies earlier action by Governor Christie with respect to the state’s “justifiable need” standard for the issuance of a concealed carry permit. Under current law, the state’s standard is so onerous that it requires applicants to prove a specific threat. The law has the net effect of blocking virtually all concealed carry applications. However, the Christie Administration issued an executive order earlier this year which made an incremental improvement to the state’s issuance of concealed carry permits by requiring a showing of only a more generalized threat. In retaliation, anti-gun lawmakers fast tracked A.3689 to codify the “justifiable need” standard claiming “legislative intent” where neither have been proven to previously exist. Rather than “freeze” a bad standard into law for all time, today’s positive reform would significantly improve a broken concealed carry law which has always devalued the constitutional right to self-defense.
Also, the reworked smart gun legislation would remove the 2002 Smart Gun law's mandate, which threatens a backdoor gun ban once smart guns are certified as commercially viable by banning all future traditional handgun sales. In addition to removing the 2002 mandate, Christie’s conditional veto also strikes the bill’s new mandate that forces gun dealers to offer smart guns for sale, thereby blocking any attempt to ban traditional handguns. NRA previously testified that the bill forced market acceptance of a technologically unviable product which is harmful for self-defense and is nothing more than a tricky gun ban.
This transformation would move New Jersey into conformity with the vast majority of other states which value the right to self-defense and have strong carry laws. Governor Christie has expressed to us that, “for decades, law-abiding residents of New Jersey have had their Second Amendment right to self-protection burdened by gun laws that are among the most unreasonable in the country. . . . Rather than doubling down on the unreasonable requirements for law-abiding residents of New Jersey to obtain a concealed carry permit, I propose having New Jersey join the 42 other states that have adopted a “shall-issue” standard for approving such applications.”
Please contact your state Senator and Assembly members and respectfully urge them to support the changes offered by the Governor in today’s veto message. Encourage your family, friends and fellow gun owners to do the same.