NJ Governor Christie continues to disappoint conservatives who believed in him prior to last year’s presidential election. Beyond budgeting, there isn’t anything resembling a Republican platform about his policies.
The sweeping gun control measures unveiled by Christie are the last blow to his reputation as ‘conservative’ by any stretch of the imagination. A local radio station 101.5 put it plainly:
New Jersey has the second toughest gun laws in the country. The first facet of Christie’s plan seeks to make them even stricter.
This includes banning future purchases of the Barrett .50 Caliber. Christie’s plan would also strengthen the state’s background check requirement by requiring mental health records to be included during the process at the time of a firearm purchase. The plan requires gun buyers to present a valid government photo ID, along with the already-mandatory Firearms Purchaser Identification Card.
Governor Chris Christie may truly care about preventing violence, and the mental health measures included in his violence prevention package are well-considered. But it is apparent that not a lot of research has been put into his proposals.
Let’s put aside that the Barrett .50 sniper rifle is responsible for an insignificant number of murders every year (in fact, in 2011, all rifles combined amounted to 323 murders out of a nation of 308 million people, according to the FBI). Numerous scientific studies show there is no correlation at the state or international level between gun control and reducing violent crime or gun homicides.
Violent video games have no bearing on gun violence, as an exhaustive study on serial killings points out, yet Christie is imposing more restrictions on their availability to young people. The state should not have the discretion to regulate speech in civil society as a matter of principle. Only those types of speech that entail doing actual physical harm against others should be regulated.
Metrics on violent crime, homicides, and gun-homicides all show that firearms restrictions are irrelevant. All they do is further disarm a populace and make them more dependent on government for protection and embolden the state to flaunt individual rights.
Increasing penalties for unjust laws doesn’t make any sense, either. Law-abiding citizens should be considered innocent until proven guilty, and the state simply doesn’t need to know if someone possesses a firearm or not. This is the kind of control freak instinct that liberals are famous for.
The set of proposals doesn’t seem like a plan as much as a way to appease liberal voters in the state. Chris Christie seems like a hard-headed guy, so he should be more open to looking at the facts instead of passing futile feel-good measures for their own sake.