Ex-NJ. Gov Christie suggests mental health, not guns, to blame for latest massacre
Former Gov. Chris Christie drew sharp criticism on social media for suggesting America has a mental health crisis, not a gun crisis.
In response to the Texas school shooting, Christie tweeted: "The madness and the evil of the shootings in Uvalde are incomprehensible. We must focus on the mental health crisis in this country. It is long overdue."
Christie's comments drew instant criticism. One person commented, "It's the guns. We have a Mental Health crisis in the UK. We don't have school shootings in the UK."
The former governor and one-time presidential candidate is considering another run for the White House. He has long been a strong advocate for better mental health care but has often changed his positions on the issue of firearms.
When he first entered politics in 1993, Christie ran a failed legislative race. In a campaign ad, he said he got into the race because of "the recent attempt by certain Republican legislators to repeal NJ’s ban on assault weapons."
He was elected governor in 2009, and supported a series of gun reforms in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre.
During his two terms as the state's chief executive, Christie signed multiple gun bills, including a ban on individuals on the federal terror watch list from buying guns.
As he geared up for his presidential run, many political observers say he pivoted more right on gun control, in an effort to attract more Republican voters.
In 1993, Christie told CBS’s Face the Nation that he had "grown up a bit and changed my view" on gun control measures.
The Texas school shooting has reignited the debate on gun control in New Jersey and across the nation.
A visibly angry President Joe Biden spoke to the nation Tuesday night.
"As a nation, we have to ask: when in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby," he said.
That sentiment was echoed by Gov. Phil Murphy, who called on the state legislature to immediately pass his package of gun control reforms.
Among the proposals waiting for action are a measure that would ban the sale of .50 caliber guns in New Jersey, raise the age to buy a shotgun to 21, toughen laws on the storage of firearms and require gun dealers keep a complete log of ammunition sales.
The NRA and gun rights advocates have pushed back on the proposals claiming they unfairly target legal gun owners, and will not curb the flow of illegal guns into New Jersey.
Murphy is expected to hold a news conference later today to push for the passage of his reform measures.
Legislative action has been stalled.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) has publicly supported the measures, but has not posted them for a vote.
Senate President Nick Scutari (D-Union) has not commented on the measures or scheduled any action in his chamber.