Buono criticizes Christie for lacking ‘strong leadership’ on gun violence

ASBURY PARK – The state senator fighting to unseat Gov. Chris Christie says the “straight talk” Republican incumbent is anything but upfront with New Jersey residents.

Sen. Barbara Buono (D) held a news conference Wednesday at the scene of a recent deadly shooting that claimed the life of a 20-year-old man. Buono used the appearance to criticize Christie for, she said, putting national ambitions over the health and safety of Garden State residents.

“He chose the NRA and the conservative base of the Republican Party above the families here in New Jersey,” said Buono, referring to Christie’s Friday afternoon vetoes of three gun reform proposals.

“Sure, he’s real tough,” said Buono, adding, “Until it comes to standing up to the conservative base.”

Buono spoke near the 1200 block of Washington Street in Asbury Park near where 20-year-old Tyrell Howard was gunned down just hours after Christie’s office announced Friday the conditional vetoes of two bills and the outright veto of a third – a ban on .50 caliber assault rifles the governor recently spoke in favor of supporting.

“He called for a ban on this weapon,” she said, while holding up a .50 caliber round in her hand. “You have to ask yourself, what’s changed?”

The state lawmaker suggested a recent trip with influential Republicans in Boston and the Republican Governors Association’s latest meeting in Colorado were what changed between Christie’s support of the ban on the sale of Barrett rifles in April and his veto last week.

Buono mocked her opponent for being so-called “governor straight talk,” yet working so hard to “thread the needle.”

Her latest appearance comes as a new poll found that while Christie still enjoys a healthy lead over his opponent, Buono gained some ground among Democrats. The Monmouth University poll put Christie at holding a 20-point lead over Buono, which is off some 10 points from the 30-point spread the incumbent has enjoyed throughout the election season.

Buono criticizes Christie for lacking ‘strong leadership’ on gun violence