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June 26, 2015

Christie will have to decide whether to sign gun control bill

Bill passed Legislature and is aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

A gun control bill was approved by the New Jersey state Legislature Thursday and is now on Gov. Chris Christie desk -- less than a week before he is expected to enter the Republican presidential primary.

The bill is aimed at strengthening protections for victims of domestic violence by ensuring that offenders don’t have access to firearms. The measure would require abusers to quickly turn over their firearms and prevent those who are under a domestic violence restraining order from possessing guns.

Laws already prevent individuals convicted of domestic violence from possessing guns, but the bill, which was pushed by former Rep. Gabby Giffords earlier this year, would strengthen protections and enforcement, advocates said.

News broke on WNYC that Christie is expected to make his presidential announcement on Tuesday. As a potential candidate, Christie will have to decide whether to sign the bill and potentially alienate primary voters who are often aligned with gun rights activists.

“We have to do more to protect the lives of women and children,” State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, said in a statement. “By imposing stronger laws that limit abusers’ access to firearms, we will better protect victims against preventable and, too often, fatal gun violence.”

Giffords, who was shot in the head by a gunman in 2011, came to New Jersey in March to meet with advocates for the bill and members of the governor’s office, according to

If an individual is not convicted and officials move to return firearms to the owner, the alleged victim must be given information about how to seek a restraining order.

"This legislation also will ensure that domestic violence survivors are given information about their rights, including their ability to secure restraining orders and other protections against their abusers," State Sen. Nia Gill, D-Essex, said in a statement.

Christie can sign the bill into law, veto it in its entirety or conditionally veto it, which would return it to the Legislature for reconsideration. If he does nothing, the bill becomes a law in 45 days. Christie has not said what he will do. 

The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 29-1 and the Assembly 49-11.