Matt Vespa

There’s some talk about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie becoming a viable contender for the 2016 Republican nomination. That is until you look at his record on Second Amendment rights. Yes, many in the base know Gov. Christie is a squish on gun rights. And, that might be why his candidacy could end before it begins.

We already nominated a moderate, Northeastern Republican in 2012. Let’s not make the same mistake twice.

Like defending life, support for the Second Amendment makes up one off the cornerstones of American conservatism. Earlier this month, Gov. Christie vetoed a magazine reduction bill, which is a good thing.

But, last week the Daily Beast published a piece that showed how Mr. Christie really feels about gun rights:

Christie’s first two campaigns were run on his support of New Jersey’s assault weapons ban, in place since 1990, which includes the 15-round magazine cap.

In April 1993, the future governor (then just a lawyer) announced he would run for the State Senate. He told the Star-Ledger, “The issue which has motivated me to get into this race is the recent attempt by certain Republican legislators to repeal New Jersey’s ban on assault weapons...In today’s society no one needs a semiautomatic assault weapon...We already have too many firearms in our communities.” Christie said that while he absolutely supported the right to bear arms, he would prevent any “weakening” of existing gun laws. The campaign only lasted a week.

In 1995, Christie, while serving as a county Freeholder, mounted a campaign for the State Assembly. He teamed up with Richard Merkt, then a legislative aide, to give running on assault weapons another go. Today, Merkt says that he just “went along” with Christie on the issue. Team Christie, he told The Daily Beast, “took control of that whole process.” The process including distributing mailers attacking the duo’s two main opponents, the vulnerable incumbent, Anthony Bucco, and a prominent conservative voice in the district, Michael Patrick Carroll. The mailers deemed repealing the ban on automatic assault weapons “dangerous,” “crazy,” and “radical.”

“He was basically kind of mocking the Second Amendment people,” Merkt said. “I think he thought the Second Amendment issue was kind of a joke, and was not significant.”

Christie and Merkt lost, with Christie coming in fourth place.

On top his abysmal record on the Second Amendment, there’s the fact that New Jersey is one of the worst states for business; its property taxes have continued to rise; and its tax projections left the state budget with a $800 million dollar shortfall. These are hardly accomplishments to be running on a national ticket.

So, it seems that while being for gun control, which is anathema to the base (and rightfully so) could derail Christie’s presidential ambitions; his economic record isn’t much to write home about either.


Matt Vespa

Matt Vespa is the Web Editor and Community Manager at Townhall.com. He previously worked for CNS News and was the recipient of Americans for Prosperity Foundation's 2013 Andrew Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Activism and Investigative Reporting.