By Ben Kamisar
Chris Chistie signaled an openness to backing a proposal that would restrict those on the no-fly list from buying guns, one of the few GOP presidential candidates to take that stance.
In an interview published Monday with The Weekly Standard, the New Jersey governor said that “in theory, I do not have a huge problem” with the proposal, voted down by the Senate last week. But he did pan the proposal as a “distraction” because the shooters who killed 14 during last week’s tragedy in San Bernardino, Calif., would not have been stopped by the policy.
Gov. John Kasich (Ohio) is the only one beside Christie’s to signal support for the proposal. He noted on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that: “It makes common sense to say that, if you're on a terrorist watch list, you shouldn't be able to go out and get a gun, although you will be able to get it illegally.”
But he also warned that officials would need to strike a balance between safety and tipping off a suspect of an investigation.
Christie signed a similar bill into law in 2013 that bars those on federal terror watch lists from purchasing handguns in New Jersey. In his signing statement, he said that his signature “represents my commitment to keeping the citizens of New Jersey safe” by keeping “guns out of the hands of” terrorists or terror supporters.
But he noted that the federal government has an equal responsibility to protect Americans from terror as it does to protect Americans from “improper scrutiny by federal law enforcement.”
“I urge Congress to take steps to ensure that law-abiding American citizens are never swept into these databases,” he said to close.