New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had some words for the National Rifle Association regarding an ad that mentions President Obama’s children, and their armed protection, in an attempt to brand the President as a hypocrite when it comes to having armed officers in schools across the country.
The ad in question shows President Obama telling David Gregory of “Meet the Press” that he’s skeptical about the only answer to school shootings being more guns in schools. The ad stops the playback of the interview there and brands both Gregory and the President as hypocrites because their children all attend schools with armed guards. Specifically, they cite Breitbart in stating that the school that Obama’s children attend has 11 armed guards.
Towards the end of the ad, the narrator says, while white text prints on the screen, “Barack Obama won’t have two sets of rules – armed guards for his rich friends and their elite schools. Restrictions and gun-free zones for ours.”
At a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey, Christie slammed the NRA for the ad, saying,
“I’m a father, who’s a public figure, who has four children, and my children had no choice, realistically, in what I decided to do with my career, and what effect that’s had on their lives, in making them somewhat public figures, and making them subject to protection from the executive protection unit. My kids don’t have a choice about that. And to talk about the President’s children or any public officer’s children, who have, not by their own choice, but by requirement, to have protection, and to use that somehow, to try to make a political point, I think is reprehensible.”
He goes on to say:
“I think for any of us who are public figures, you see that kind of ad and you cringe. You cringe, because it’s just not appropriate in my view to do that… Don’t be dragging people’s children into this. It’s wrong, and I think it demeans them, and it makes them less of a valid, trusted source of information on the real issues that confront this debate.”
Earlier today, Senator Rand Paul criticized Governor Christie for his comments about the NRA and their ad, saying that it sounds like Christie is backing down from gun rights, and that the move was likely politically calculated. In an interview on The Laura Ingraham Show, he said, “I think he may be solidifying his support with Democrats in New Jersey and maybe liberal Republicans.”
Paul also said that he doesn’t think this kind of thing—criticizing fellow Republicans for their delay in passing disaster relief, or his comments about the NRA—will go over very well for him should he choose to make a run at the White House in 2016.
Christie, however, has never been an especially strong advocate of gun rights. As far back as 1993, when Christie first announced that he would challenge New Jersey State Senator John Dorsey, Christie was wary of relaxing firearms restrictions, saying, “We already have too many firearms in our community.” He was worried about, and critical of, the Republicans’ push to repeal New Jersey’s assault weapons ban, which is what led him to run for state office.
Also, according to a 2011 article on Yahoo! News’ “The Week,” Christie was fighting efforts to allow concealed carry in New Jersey, though the state now allows concealed carry on a “may issue” basis. People who want a concealed carry permit must apply and demonstrate a real need for the permit. Authorities of the state have discretion as to whether to issue or deny such permits.
Christie has been quoted as saying that New Jersey has a handgun problem, and much of his work regarding gun control centers around that. However, he believes that focusing only on gun control as a way to curb violence is too narrow an approach, and believes in a far wider, more comprehensive way to address it, including better mental health care, and focusing on violence in video games, substance abuse and more.
What he wants is for the Republicans to stop parroting the NRA and start a real discussion about what he calls “violence control.” His negative remarks about the NRA’s ad speak to where he wants the party to go with the gun control issue.
See the NRA’s ad here.
See Governor Christie’s comments here.