[OPINION] Governor Christie’s Shameful .50 Caliber Flip-Flop

by Karen Egert

I thought Governor Christie’s big selling point was that he puts New Jersey first and he doesn’t let  partisan politics get in the way of doing what is right for N.J. Isn’t that what the big boss man has been saying for the last four years? So why is it that he has vetoed  a bill banning .50 caliber rifles, the same .50 caliber rifle that he publicly recommended banning back in April? That’s one for the books , really.

On April 17, Governor Christie announced formal recommendations regarding gun safety  after his three-month study from  NJ Safe. The following appeared on his website:

Governor Christie’s plan to responsibly expand New Jersey’s strict gun control measures includes:

• Banning future purchases of the Barrett .50 Caliber (New Jersey law would ban any weapon that is substantially identical to the Barrett .50 Caliber);

That’s pretty clear to me.  The state legislature goes through their lengthy process and they agree. Non-partisan politics working at its best . Democrats and Republicans alike say –you’re right Governor, let’s ban that very dangerous weapon that could wreak havoc on NJ if it falls into hands of terrorists or any lunatic.

So now, the Governor  vetoes that same bill he proposed  in his own recommendations. Wow, vetoing your own bill . That’s a first.

This .50 caliber rifle is the weapon of choice for the military as it is prized for its precise accuracy and the extent of damage that it  can create. It shoots a 4-inch bullet and can reach targets as much as a mile away.

Any terrorist can get hold of one of these rifles and shoot into numerous  environmentally vulnerable targets wreaking financial and toxic havoc on NJ. There are numerous so-called “soft targets” in Linden, right next to Westfield , with chemical tanks, processing plants, and the city’s airport —which could be a prime target for a terrorist attack using this weapon.

The argument on the right is that there has never been an accident or incident in New Jersey using the .50 caliber so why ban it? The Governor is quoted as saying” “Tellingly, the legislature points to no instance of this class of firearms being used by even a single criminal in New Jersey”  Well, no terrorists  crashed planes into skyscrapers before  9/11 either. How stupid can the rhetoric get.

This is politics at its worst. He is not only going back directly on what he recommended  publicly, but  in doing so he is putting this state and its residents  at grave risk.

Think of what this one gun could do . Now get ten terrorists together and boom —  the rest will be history.

I’m sorry , but I would rather not  hold my breath and blindly hope  that nothing happens , not when we can do something  to prevent it and everyone agrees , even the Governor, that we should do something. This is pure selfish politics . It reeks of cowardice and bowing to the political bullying from the right.

I don’t care how great Christie was in Hurricane Sandy.  He is showing his true colors by betraying our elected legislature and betraying the people of New Jersey. He is actually vetoing something he publicly recommended. That is pathetic.

Shame on you Governor Christie.

Karen Egert, of Westfield, is one of the organizing forces behind New Jersey Residents for Action Against Gun Violence

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