TRENTON – After Thursday’s failed override, Assembly Republicans continued to cautiously tow the line on gun control as each side accused the other of holding up new guidelines for mental health record expungements. Assemblyman Chris Brown (R-2), who voted in favor of the override Thursday afternoon, swerved abruptly back to the party line.
“We were all saying the same thing and trying to get to the same place through different paths,” said Brown after the vote. “Unfortunately, since we didn’t listen to each other, those paths never came together.
“We all want the same thing. You want a good, strong, comprehensive bill? So do we.”
Brown’s vote comes at a time when he is well-positioned to run against incumbent state Senator Jim Whelan in his home district, and could be a sign that he’s clearing the path for a clean record on gun control for progressives to bolster his appeal. Even so, he joined the rest of the delegation in criticizing the override after it failed.
Brown expressed his confusion about “the notion that they’re shocked and confused about a conditional veto. Why did you pick this one? And are you politicizing it?”
Rather than sending up victory cries after keeping Democrats from delivering a blow to Christie, Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) said that he was disappointed in the controversy over a bill both sides seemed to agree on. Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto had issued a statement saying that he would be floating the override vote again.
“I think we should pass it tomorrow, there should be an emergency session. Speaker Prieto said that he’s going to post it again and again,” said Bramnick after the vote. “Why waste time?”
On the future of the expungement guidelines, which would alert law enforcement when those with state mental health records attempt to purchase a gun, both sides are trying to accuse the other of choosing the more drawn-out option and potentially costing lives. Democrats accused Christie’s administration of obstructing the bill’s progress for political gain over and over at Thursday’s session.
Brown expressed confusion about “the notion that they’re shocked and confused about a conditional veto.”
“Why did you pick this one? And are you politicizing it?” he asked of the override.