Chris Christie Supports Background Checks, Thankfully Not In Arkansas

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is seeking expanded background checks for gun purchases. The Republican Governor announced his intentions two days after a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks in the Senate failed and the same day that a GOP newsletter circulated in Benton County, Arkansas suggesting that Republicans should be willing to shoot representatives that vote counter to their wishes.

“Ensuring there are common-sense safety measures when purchasing guns is not enough,” Christie said at a press conference Friday. “We must address the many different contributing factors.”

The governor is combining his efforts with a requirement that minors have parental consent before buying violent video games. The stance agrees with the overwhelming majority of Americans who view background checks as a reasonable reform, and it appeases conservatives who feel violent video games may be partly to blame for the increase in mass shootings.

Chris Christie should be glad he doesn’t live in the substantially more conservative state of Arkansas, where the April Republican Party of Benton County newsletter would suggest that he become a target.

“The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives,” Chris Nogy, the husband of Benton County Republcan Party Secretary Leah Nogy, wrote in the newsletter. “It seems that we are unable to muster that belief in any of our representatives on a state or federal level, but we have to have something, something costly, something that they will fear that we will use if they step out of line.”

Is Chris Christie out of line? Not in New Jersey, a state which the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence considers to have the second-toughest gun laws in the country. The state already has an assault weapons ban and a seven-day waiting period prior to buying any gun. These laws came before Christie, and if he hopes to maintain the support of New Jersey voters, he dare do or say little to reverse them if he wants to remain electable in the state. Signs suggest that he does.

Chris Christie may be more focused on seeking re-election in a blue state rather than aiming to please Republican voters in upcoming presidential primaries. Chris Christie for president in 2016? Not quite.

Nevertheless, Christie reminded people in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing that violent things will happen, regardless of how many laws are passed.

“Some things, no matter how hard we try, are out of human control,” he said. “Bad people are going to do bad things.”

But should the threat of bad things happening be permissible against lawmakers? Chris Christie is far enough away from Arkansas that his support for background checks won’t require this question to be answered today. More disturbing, though, is that the question has been raised at all.

[Image by Luigi Novi [CC-BY-3.0 or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]