Christie vetoed a bill that would ban .50 caliber rifles, stating that his recommendations were more narrowly focused than the bill passed by the legislature. To his credit, the bill would call for owners of .50 caliber rifles to give them up.
Christie altered two bills sending them back to the legislature for review. One of them was S. 2723 which would overhaul the way the state issues firearms ID cards and would extend instant background checks to private sales. The other one, A. 3797, required law enforcement agencies report information on lost, stolen, and discarded guns to federal databases. His major change to A. 3797 removed the provision that would direct the State Police to issue reports on gun trace data provided by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
Christie did manage to sign A. 3583 which created a school security system. In the last week, Governor Christie has signed other bills related to guns. They did the following:
- upgraded the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm to a first-degree crime. Increased mandatory minimum sentences for these crimes by six months.
- Makes the crime of trafficking firearms into the No Early Release Act, which means that criminals have to serve at least 85% of their sentences. It requires authorities to seize cars used to smuggle weapons into the state and increases penalties to at least 18 months in prison for dealers who knowingly sell guns to customers disqualified from possessing them.
- Allow authorities to impound cars if an occupant illegally possesses a weapon of if they are used in cases of prostitution and buying or selling illegal drugs.
- Increase penalties for those who unlawfully sell or give a gun to an underage person from a third-degree to a second-degree offense with a minimum mandatory prison sentence of five years.
- Disqualify people on the federal terrorist watch list from owning guns
- Gives residents a 180 day window to get rid of certain illegal firearms
- Bans the public release of personal information on gun owners