Christie Signs Bill Limiting Gun Access For Domestic Violence Offenders

Gov. Chris Christie on Monday signed a popular proposal into law that limits access to firearms for people under restraining orders or convicted of domestic violence offenses.

The governor approved it seven months after the Democratic-controlled Legislature threatened to override his May veto of a similar bill that had broad bipartisan support.

The bill (S2483) prohibits people convicted of a domestic violence crime or subject to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a firearm. It requires anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime to sell or surrender their firearms.

"Survivors of domestic violence will be safer than ever before," Christie said in a statement.

In his May veto Christie proposed a rewrite of the bill that would instead expedite the permit process for domestic abuse victims seeking access to guns for their own protection.

After lawmakers moved to override the governor's veto, talks of reworking the legislation emerged.

Christie on Monday suggested he supported the reworked version because it added a provision that increases criminal penalties for offenses, including maximums for repeat offenders, that he "urged" lawmakers to adopt.

Sponsors said the bill had the backing of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot several years ago and is now a gun control activist. 

"Today, the Garden State became a safer place to live," Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, co-founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, said in a statement.

"This is a real victory for the kind of common sense and bipartisanship that our country needs a lot more of," they said."

Christie's support of gun reform measures over his tenure as governor has been checkered.

During his first term, his administration declared he supported "New Jersey's already tough gun laws" and, at one time, Christie even looked to strengthen them. In the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings, Christie proposed banning sales of the powerful .50 caliber rifle.

But Christie later dropped his support of the .50 caliber ban after a gun rights group in New Hampshire warned him that they were watching and that his presidential hopes could be at stake.

Shortly before launching his presidential campaign, Christie told New Jerseyans he would have loosened the state's gun laws if he had a Republican Legislature.

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