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June 30, 2015

Christie announces changes to N.J. gun rules

Will make it easier for certain crime victims to get guns in wake of Camden case

On Monday night, one day before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was scheduled to announce he is running for president, he changed the state’s gun rules to make it easier for some to receive firearm permits.

The regulatory changes are aimed at making it easier for victims of domestic abuse and violent crime to legally get a gun.

“I have always said that when there are sensible changes to improve our laws and the fair administration of justice, I will take action, and that is what I am doing today,” Christie said in a statement released late Monday night. “The Constitution grants and our courts have affirmed the individual right to bear arms as a fundamental right, and that is all the more important for those who are victims of violence or under threat.

“This commonsense step will protect the rights of victims and people at risk of violent acts by giving them priority, while ensuring the core protections of the permitting process remain fully in effect.”

Christie’s statement said the changes were in response to the death of Carol Bowne of Camden County. Bowne's ex-boyfriend had been charged in her killing, which occurred earlier in June. Christie said Bowne applied for a handgun permit, but the application was delayed past the 30-day deadline. Under the new regulations, these types of applications would be accepted or rejected within 14 days.

The governor also signed an executive order creating the New Jersey Firearm Purchase and Permitting Study Commission, which will make recommendations about the state’s permitting and gun ownership rules, according to a press release.