The media makes much ado about the large crowd running for president on the Republican ticket. In truth, however, the GOP field is littered with a wide variety of faux-Republicans who act and vote as Democrats but prefer the Republican label.
One such candidate is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. With a bombastic style, the supposedly Republican governor has endeared himself to Democrats, but has failed to tap into the conservative base that comprises the GOP. From his wishy-washy policy record to his chummy relationship with Barack Obama during Hurricane Sandy, the governor has demonstrated that his political positions are not in tune with the Republican platform.
Still, he persists in the race even as conservatives eye him with deep suspicion. After his testy back-and-forth with a gun rights activist, however, it seems clear that Christie would have a greater chance of success running on the Democrat ticket.
New Jersey stands as a state that remains one of the most-hostile to Second Amendment rights in the country. Horror stories fill gun blogs and forums with warnings to stay out of the Garden State.
Shaneen Allen, a law-abiding Pennsylvania woman, became the face of New Jersey’s draconian gun laws when the mother of two voluntarily revealed to a New Jersey police officer that she had a firearm in her car. Allen was unaware that her Pennsylvania concealed carry permit was not recognized by New Jersey and for her infraction, Allen faced felony prosecution and significant prison time.
Amidst an uproar, Gov. Christie pardoned Allen, but did so only after a year-and-a-half of legal hell for Allen and only as the 2016 race began to heat-up. Though Allen escaped the clutches of the New Jersey penal system, the state remains as hostile as ever to Second Amendment rights and many remain vulnerable to prosecution in the tyrannous state.
On Saturday, Christie defended his record at a Des Moines, Iowa, community college. The crowd of around 120 came to watch Christie speak and take questions. When confronted by a gun rights supporter reportedly from the Iowa Gun Owners, which bills itself as “Iowa’s only no-compromise gun group,” Christie went-off.
The man asked Christie about his support for anti-Second Amendment policies- a characterization that Christie adamantly denied.
“I’m still waiting for one fact from you, one fact about me being anti-gun,” Christie said. “Give me one. One fact. Got one?”
The man pointed to Christie’s 1995 support for an “assault weapons” ban and mandatory tracking numbers on firearms. Christie, at the time of his support for such a ban, was running for the state assembly.
Christie did not deny his previous support for the ban, but claimed that he had changed his position.
“If you haven’t changed your mind once on a single issue in 20 years, then I’ll tell you you’re not a thinking, breathing, living human being,” Christie said.
The exchange lasted for around 4 minutes with the crowd applauding Christie at various points. Christie ended the fiery back-and-forth with a flippant dismissal, challenging,
“If you want to debate me, run for president, get in the top 10 and come to Fox in Cleveland on August 6th and I’d be happy to debate you.”
While Christie may not be the most-rabidly anti-Second Amendment governor in history, his record is hardly representative of a “pro-gun” governor. He currently has a “C” rating from the NRA and previously voiced a need for a “right balance” on Second Amendment rights.
Of course, the Second Amendment offers no such requirement of having to strike a “right balance.” Remarkable in its brevity, the right that protects all others is the only right that explicitly outlines that the aforementioned right shall not be infringed.
That some in politics believe that the unambiguous wording can mean “a little infringement” is baffling to many conservatives.
Christie blasted the audience member for not having his facts straight and alleged that New Jersey has a lot of tough anti-Second Amendment laws, but that such laws were signed before he became governor.
However, Christie, in 2013, signed 10 new anti-Second Amendment laws that cracked-down on illegal possession of them. He also vetoed several parts of the anti-gun package sent to his desk for signing, including a statewide gun ID program and a ban on .50 caliber rifles.
Christie’s back-and-forth banter with crowds and tough-talking rebuttals can be entertaining. However, it seems clear that his executive theory of power is more in line with a “my way or the highway” approach than that of a Whig theory of executive power- that the executive is duty-bound to execute the will of the people.
His exchange shows that not only is Christie soft on Second Amendment issues, but thoroughly unwilling to tolerate tough questions. He’s not ready for the Oval Office.