TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie took his veto pen to Democratic lawmakers’ centerpiece gun bill late Friday afternoon.
The governor largely gutted a bill sponsored and spearheaded by Senate President Steve Sweeney. Christie only conditionally vetoed the proposal, however the governor’s revisions scrap much of Sweeney’s original bill.
In his veto message, Christie touted actions he took to combat gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings last year, and criticized the Legislature on going too far.
“The Legislature instead embarked on a different course. Rather than considering the dozens of common-sense policies I proposed, fifteen bills were passed. Rather than examining the issue of violence comprehensively as I recommended, the Legislature focused solely on gun control.
“And rather than a careful and balanced approach to that subject, a few ideas were hurriedly designed and swiftly considered. Although disappointed by this approach to violence pursued by the Legislature, I pledged to consider each bill on the merits,” he wrote.
The bill sought to revise state statutes concerning purchasing firearms. Under the bill, firearms purchaser ID information would be embedded in a driver’s license toward the goal of providing for instant background checks and immediate revocation of firearms possession rights if a violation is discovered.
Also this afternoon, Christie issued an absolute veto of a bill that would have banned .50-caliber weapons, and conditionally vetoed a bill dealing with reporting of firearms data.
Christie signed A3583, establishing the School Security Task Force, a 15-member body made up of members from the educational, security and law enforcement community, as well as the general public.