Gun control is the major debate in New Jersey recently, but will it become a gubernatorial campaign issue for Governor Chris Christie and his Democratic challenger, State Senator Barbara Buono?

Barbara Buono

One political expert thinks it could impact the race and if it does, it could be good for Buono in the short-term and bad for Christie in the long-term.

"Buono is actually very clever to try and make this more of an issue," says FDU political science professor Dan Cassino. "This is a way for Buono to actually try and put the press on Chris Christie. Christie who wants to win reelection this year knows that additional gun control legislation is in fact popular in this state and he's going to want to pursue that for his own immediate political advantage or at least look like he's not obstructing any additional gun control legislation."

New Jersey voters could be placated says Cassino, but the national conservative Republicans Christie will need if he's eying a presidential run in 2016 are not exactly proponents of new gun control laws.

"A nationwide constituency that might be interested in Christie in 2016 certainly doesn't want him pushing any additional gun control legislation," says Cassino. "For Barbara Buono this is actually a very smart political move to try and shift the focus to gun control to put Chris Christie into the sort of uncomfortable situation where he has to choose between a local constituency and a national constituency."

In Cassino's opinion, the challenge for Christie is to make it look to the public like he's not blocking more gun control laws and maybe even sign some bills into law while maintaining plausible deniability for a national audience.

"He can say, 'Look, yes we did common sense gun control. Gun control that didn't take away anyone's guns and didn't infringe on anyone's 2nd Amendment rights,'" says Cassino. "That's a very fine line to tread."

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