I never had very high expectations from Chris Christie on the gun issue. New Jersey has a one of the lowest rates of gun ownership in the country, and it’s part of both the New York and Philadelphia media markets, neither of which are known for gun friendliness. But the recent Brian Atkins case has people talking whether a pardon is in the cards:
As for Christie, he seems to have learned a lesson from that loss. By the time he ran for governor last year, he had adopted the position that politicians traditionally adopt when they really, really wish the gun issue would just go away: He said he wouldnâ€™t seek new laws, but would enforce current laws.
Thatâ€™s not good enough for gun lovers, and the case of Brian Aitken shows why. Aitken, a media consultant in his mid-20s, was a normal, law-abiding citizen until January of last year. Thatâ€™s when he moved back to his native New Jersey from Colorado, where he had lived for several years.
It should cost Christie nothing to pardon this guy. I’d be surprised if 10% of New Jerseyans think justice is served keeping that guy in prison. The big risk Christie faces is a Democratic opponent attacking him for “pardoning a mentally unstable man for carrying illegal guns, deadly ammunition, and high capacity magazines,” which unlike other states will actually work in New Jersey on people who are ignorant of Aitken’s plea. But given the Philadelphia media’s sympathetic coverage, I would say this makes it safe politically. It’s an non-controversial, visible way that Governor Christie and stand with us. If you believe in the right to bear arms, even if you believe that right is restricted to the home, that right necessarily has to cover moving arms between residences.