(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill Friday that would ban certain long-range rifles and sent several gun-related bills back to the state Legislature for changes, his office announced.
The Republican governor, who has worked with the Legislature on a number of bills to curb gun violence this year (he signed 10 last week), did not approve a proposed ban on firearms with a caliber of .50 or greater, saying it criminalizes a firearm that has not been used in crimes.
Christie's gun-violence task force had recommended earlier this year a limit on future sales of a specific type of firearm: the Barrett .50-caliber long-range rifle.
But the bill passed by the Democratically-controlled Legislature "goes well beyond that recommendation," he said in the veto statement. The bill makes illegal "the ownership of a whole class of firearms that are technically capable of firing any ammunition of .50 caliber or greater."
Many of those firearms - which can be four to five feet in length and weigh 35 pounds - are used by competitive marksmen for long-range precision target shooting.
"Tellingly, the Legislature points to no instance of this class of firearms being used by even a single criminal in New Jersey. The wide scope of this total ban, therefore, will not further public safety, but only interfere with lawful recreational pastimes," he said.
Mark Kelly, who founded a pro-gun control group with his wife and former Rep. Gabby Giffords, blasted Christie's decision.
"He listened to the voices of the few over the many, heeding a handful of powerful gun lobbyists instead of thousands of New Jerseyans," Kelly said in a statement released Saturday by his group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. "He put political ambition over public safety. His veto may cost lives."
The governor, who's considered a potential GOP presidential contender in 2016, also called for a number of other measures in the bills he sent back. His recommendations include:
- Requiring a New Jersey firearms identification card for the purchase of all ammunition and reasonably restricting shipments of ammunition to the address specified on that identification card;
- Creating a new criminal offense for any gun owner allowing a minor access to a firearm which results in injury or death;
- Requiring physicians and screeners overseeing involuntary commitments to inquire about gun ownership;
- Requiring all local law enforcement entities to distribute a pamphlet explaining the best practices for gun ownership, and a list of available courses for basic and advances firearms training that should be distributed at the time a permit or identification card is issued.
In 2011, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ranked New Jersey as the state with the second-toughest gun laws in the country.
This nation's dire need is Gun-Ban Laws. Period.
The Emperor has no clothes – just another Republican panda with no spine.
Listen you blithering idiot, a fully armed M1A1 tank hasn't been used in a crime, but it still shouldn't be avaiulable to the public as the ultimatic phallic symbol. A 50 cal. rifle has one purpose – to kill a human being at a very great distance. It's a sniper rifle. No one hunts with it, no one spend thousands to hang it above the fireplace. Stop listening to the venal SOB's at the NRA and do what you're elected to do – serve the people of NJ.
Glad to see that Gov Christie had the"common sense" not to pass these worthless pieces of legislation as they would do absolute nothing to deter any crimes. They would only further restrict the rights of law abiding citizens. Glad to see that "common sense" has prevailed.
A Barrett .50 costs about $10,000, weighs about 30 pounds, and costs between 2 and 4 dollars per round to fire. There's basically no crime this gun sensibly serves and, if there is, anyone who can afford the gun and the ammo almost certainly has the means to evade any ban. This is just another example of anti-gun nuts being hysterical.
@ Henry, now that's a valid point. Thank you for having common sense.
Christie is more senseable than the rest of the repo trolls. Republicans will have a tough time next election what with rand paul and cruz and the other idiots running. Christie may be the only choice they have. At least he makes some kind of sense.