How Pro Second Amendment is Chris Christie?

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 wouldn’t seek new laws, but would enforce current laws.

That’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. That’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.

31 thoughts on “How Pro Second Amendment is Chris Christie?”

  1. Is there any good reason for gun owners across the country to not light up (politely) Christie’s phone lines? Many of us not in NJ might welcome a run at the White House and could play that angle when calling from out of state.

  2. If Christie doesn’t pardon Aitken, he would be throwing away his shot at winning the presidential primary in 2012 (but not a potential nod for the VP slot).

  3. Christie for President? Why are people so determined to hand Obama a second term? Christie isn’t president material. Neither is Palin, for that matter, but people seem convinced she is. Kinda like Ron Paul. They must certainly appeal to a determined fringe, for them to be willing to let Obama win again (and get a bunch more Supreme Court appointments in the process).

    Think, people!

  4. Does the pardon have to be approved by a separate board of pardons and paroles before it gets to Christie’s desk? He may not be able to print out a pardon from the office laserjet… there is a process I’m sure.

  5. Why wouldn’t you think Christie is presidential material? Sure, once the media starts to scrutinize him and his record the glow is sure to wear off – but I doubt Obamas gonna be able to do much more damage than the all powerful schools union has done in Jersey.

    He’s a chief executive of a very populated state that plays in both the worlds biggest media market (NY) and a major top 10 media market (Philly).

    He’s also a local government state exec and a successful lawyer and VERY successful longtime federal prosecutor.

    Frankly, if you seriously don’t think he’s qualified to be president (based on his record so far) who do you think is qualified?

    And comparing him to palin is ludicrous. Unless, your a teacher or civil servant in jersey.

    But, of course, that doesn’t mean he will run (I think it does interest him) or win if he does, but to claim he’s not qualified – that’s a rather bewildering statement.

  6. @Countertop: I never claimed he wasn’t qualified. I said he’s not president material. Why? Because he’s not charismatic. Also, he is very, very fat. We can go back and forth about how that would affect his politics, but it doesn’t matter because it affects his electability. Like it or not. It might not matter to you or me, but it matters to enough of the voting populace. That he won in NJ just shows how much they hated Corzine. And they don’t hate Obama that much. Do you really want to pin 2012 on hoping enough people hate Obama to vote for the fat man? I wouldn’t take that bet.

  7. Clearly he’s electable – he’s gov of NJ. But putting him up against Obama is basically telling Obama he doesn’t even have to try.

  8. I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Christie ain’t pretty, but he *is* charismatic. The two are only loosely related. Watch some of his events videos on youtube. The guy can work a crowd, and is a great extemporaneous speaker.

    2012 isn’t in the cards, though. He’s been saying all along he doesn’t want it; and the timing sucks, sine he has to start campaigning after the pain of his austerity plan hits, but before the gain does.

    As for the pardon, he could offset the “damage” of pardoning Brian by noting why he (essentially) fired the judge. That’s a standoff

  9. Also, for all of NJ’s “anti-gun” attitude, one of the guys he attacked in that 1995 mailer, Mike Patrick Carrol, serves in the Legislature and regularly introduces a shall-issue bill. *Parts* of NJ are solidly anti-gun. Others, not so much. I trip over gunnies at work *still* and I’ve worked there for half a decade

  10. @Mike – McCain wasn’t Presidential material either. Republicans were dumb enough to run him.

    And don’t say we chose him, because we did not. American’s really do not get much choice. The way the primaries are rigged. Most candidates are gone by the time 1/2 the country gets an opportunity to vote.

    It’s rather ludicrous. All primaries should be held the same day, perhaps let states that use a caucus go a month early.

  11. @Mike – I’ve been in the politics game a long time. I don’t think fat has anything to do with it. Look at Bill Clinton. Same personality, same girth (at least then).

    I agree the timing sucks on Christie running in 2012 – but I’ve seen stranger things.

    My $$$ is still on Thune winning Iowa and someone else coming out of New Hampshire (not sure who yet) to make it a race for the nomination. Maybe Romney. Maybe Christie. Perhaps Mitch Daniels. And perhaps one more from down south – Maybe Haley Barbour (another fat guy with a great personality) – but that’s a long way off

    and the Republicans in Congress (and the line in the sand right wing base) are gonna be the ones who screw up our chances in 2012 far more than who ever is nominated can.

  12. @countertop – thanks for reminding me of Romney. He’s another Republican who would hand Obama a second term on a sliver platter (because his god makes him wear funny underwear). It would be great if the Republicans would run someone who isn’t morbidly obese, a cult member, a mama grizzly, 80 years old, or a witch. (oh, right, she’s NOT a witch) They could run a conservative while they’re at it, too. And no, MA conservative isn’t really a conservative. And no fatties. No no no! Looks matter. Many women liked Obama because they thought he was pretty.

  13. A repub from the North East gives me the shivers. I think of that boy with the high pitched laugh (Rudy).

  14. Like I said over at New Jovian Thunderbolt’s – in a year many things can change. I could die, the sultan could die, the horse might learn to sing.

  15. If there were any justice in this world, Christie would pardon Aitken, and very publicly railroad the prosecutor and the police officers who arrested him.

  16. Can’t get behind shafting the cop, given the complexity of NJ firearms law. By all means nail the prosecutor to the same wall as the judge – he had time to review the circumstances and the law.

  17. Romney gave Massachusetts the precursor to Obamacare. How he can beat Obama when he’s with him on one of the biggest wedge issues, I have no idea.

  18. Ian, the cops could have looked the other way. They should have looked the other way. They knew what was likely to happen to Aitken after arresting him. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

    Prosecutors are supposed to be held to the highest standard of justice. They fear that the proper application of justice might result in a “disparate impact”, so instead they pursue all charges uniformly, without any regard for the circumstances. Justice requires some discretion, and its a real shame that prosecutors everywhere refuse to strap on a set of balls when appropriate. The same goes for the cops.

  19. Whether I absolve the cops depends on what the mother reported. If she reported she was worried he was suicidal, and had guns, the guns were going to come into the picture and there’s not much the cops can do. If the cop had pulled him over, and found the gun, then I blame the cop as much as the prosecutor. You can always pretend you didn’t see something. If the cops were focused on preventing what they thought could be a suicide, it was up to the prosecutor to exercise discretion in not bringing charges.

    I think the greater question is why anyone would want to be a cop in New Jersey where doing what you think is reasonable suicide prevention lands someone like Aitken 7 years in the slammer. If I had been involved with that case I’d have a hard time sleeping at night.

  20. Mother didn’t tell the 911 dispatch anything; she hung up and the cops were vectored to the mother’s address based on a 911 hangup. Don’t know what the cops were told when they got there, nor how they bootstrapped that to probable cause to search the car. NJ court precedent is that the cops should not even ask to search vehicles in a traffic stop. This wasn’t a traffic stop, though – the car was parked at his mother’s house.

    I guess I want to know more about the grounds for searching the car. If he or his mother gave permission, he’s dumb, but that kind of dumb is sadly all too common.

    Agreed that the cops should feel all kinds of remorse; I just don’t know that you could define what they did as “not part of their job”.

  21. Don’t know. The reports I’ve read have been unclear on where the search was or what the probable cause was.

    I’ve had some personal experience that suggests that NJ cops are leery of asking for permission to search a car, and that they will go through some quite amusing verbal contortions to generate probable cause without asking for explicit permission.

  22. The Reason article has more info; look slike they called him and asked him to come back to his mother’s house, searched the car despite determining he was not a threat to himself, and popped him for illegal possession. Which means the cops were well and truly assholes, no argument.

    OTOH, Brian Miller is claiming he had hollow-points and standard-capacity magazines. Wonder if that is what got the cops all hot and bothered?

    No excuse for their behavior, at any rate.

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  24. A quick search of the NJ Constitution yielded this:
    1. The Governor may grant pardons and reprieves in all cases other than impeachment and treason, and may suspend and remit fines and forfeitures. A commission or other body may be established by law to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of executive clemency.

    So, maybe Christie can hammer out a pardon on the office laserjet and it’ll fly. NJ Law on the other hand is totally different.

  25. “Romney gave Massachusetts the precursor to Obamacare. How he can beat Obama when he’s with him on one of the biggest wedge issues, I have no idea.”

    This is the biggest reason Romney creeps me out; I’m a bit creeped out by Christie for the reason previously stated–you can’t trust a Republican from the Northeast, because Northeasterners tend to be light on conservatism.

    It’s also why I don’t trust Huckabee, even though he comes from the South.

    I did vote for Romney in the Primary, but only because by the time the primaries got to Utah, he was the most conservative candidate still running. I still think I should have voted for Fred Thompson, though, even though he had dropped out by then.

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