TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday continued his fight with Democratic lawmakers over gun control, vetoing two proposals aimed at restricting gun ownership in the Garden State.

Chrstie’s conditional vetoes scuttle a proposed law requiring gun retailers to stock up on so-called “smart guns” and rejects a legislative effort to make the state’s “justifiable need” carry-permit regulation into law.

The state’s regulations on gun-carry permits is one of the most restrictive in the country, requiring applicants to apply for permission from their local police chief and a Superior Court judge by demonstrating “urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats, or previous attacks.”

Critics, including Christie, say this regulation makes it almost impossible for most people to obtain carry permits.

Instead, Christie on Wednesday urged lawmakers to scrap that regulation altogether and make New Jersey a “shall issue” state, allowing anyone who is not prohibited from owning a gun and who can demonstrate familiarity with the safe handling on guns to obtain a permit.

“I continue to oppose the relentless campaign by the Democratic legislature to make New Jersey as inhospitable as possible to lawful gun ownership and sales,” Chrisitie said in a statement accompanying his vetoes.

“Instead of remaining an outlier with overly burdensome restrictions of questionable constitutionality, New Jersey should follow the lead of the vast majority of states across the country and simplify, not complicate, the ability of responsible citizens, dealers and retailers, to buy, sell and possess firearms as protected by the Second Amendment.”‎

Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen, one of the sponsors of the personalized handgun bill, blasted Christie's statement for being "alarmingly replete with right-wing political talking points and grandstanding."

“This bill was a start toward making our streets safer, particularly in our urban areas, but sadly, Gov. Christie has once again put his political ambitions above the public safety of New Jersey residents," Johnson said. "That’s shameful.”

Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald said Christie is "out of touch" with the state.

"Issuing concealed carry permits to every pizza delivery boy in the state won't make us any safer as a community," he said Wednesday.

But Scott L. Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, applauded Christie's move as a "bold and defiant statement to the legislature."

"Not only has he rejected their medieval schemes to block self-defense, but he has fired back in a way that forces them to choose squarely between citizen empowerment or victimization in the post-Orlando era of terror attacks on U.S. soil. The inescapable truth is that government cannot protect you when evil strikes — the only solution is citizen empowerment, and it is the legal, moral and Constitutional imperative of government to facilitate and not block self-defense.”

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email

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