Reasonable people change their minds over time. Few see the world the same way at 56 as they did at 21. Politicians are people, too, and they are entitled to change their positions.
However, one must be skeptical of these changes when their actions do not indicate a genuine shift, but a realization of a political opportunity.
For example, though Democrats love to posture as the oh-so-enlightened crusaders for homosexual-oriented issues, the fact is that the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal prohibition on same-sex marriage, was signed by President Clinton and received overwhelming support from Democrats.
In fact, President Obama did not “evolve” on the issue of same-sex marriage until early in his presidency. It still remains unclear when political opportunist Hillary Clinton “evolved” on this issue, but it’s safe to say that it likely occurred around the same time she set her sights on the Oval Office.
Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie claims that he has evolved on the issue of Second Amendment rights. However, one must consider how genuine this evolution is considering that gun control remains remarkably unpopular in America.
In 1995, as Republicans pushed to repeal the “Assault Weapons Ban,” Christie railed against the effort and called those who wanted to repeal it “dangerous,” “crazy” and “radical.” Christie also was publicly against concealed carry laws in 2009.
In 1993, during his state Senate race, Christie claimed that Republican efforts to repeal the state ban on weapons deemed “assault weapons” an “issue which has energized me to get into this race.”
Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, however, on Wednesday, Christie explained,
“Well listen, in 1995, Sean, I was 32 years old and I’ve changed my mind. And the biggest reason that I changed my mind was my seven years as a federal prosecutor. What I learned in those seven years was that we were spending much too much time talking about gun laws against law-abiding citizens and not nearly enough time talking about enforcing the gun laws strongly against criminals.”
“I learned the difference, and I learned what the limitations are of these laws that people are talking about and how they much, much more greatly infringe on law-abiding citizens than they do anything to prevent crime,” Christie said. “Having learned that, my position’s changed.”
“And quite frankly, if I had the choice now I’d make New Jersey a state where you could have a shall-issue on conceal and carry,” he continued. “Now, our Legislature won’t do that, but what I have done recently is to make sure that we’re making it easier for folks to be able to get a permit in New Jersey because they deserve the right to do that as law-abiding citizens.”
Christie may have softened his position on the Second Amendment, but no Republican could stand a chance in the 2016 primary if they were anything but outwardly supportive of Second Amendment rights.
What do you think? Is his change in perspective real? Or is it just a case of Christie understanding political realities?