With Andrew Cuomo announcing that he’d like to tighten New York’s already strict gun laws, Chris Christie was forced to do a very delicate dance, figuratively, on the morning-show circuit today. Asked on CBS what he’d like to see happen in New Jersey and across the country after Newtown, Christie quickly noted that his state has “the second toughest gun laws in America already” before performing a graceful heel-turn. “I think we have to have a conversation about it, but if all we talk about is just controlling guns, which we should talk about, then we’re not doing enough,” he said, running down bullet points on the stigma of mental illness, substance abuse, and violence in video games. The noncommittal answer is more than he had to say after the mass shooting in Aurora, but not as far as he’s gone in the past.
Christie had a busy morning, avoiding similar questions about guns on the Today show, where he unveiled his new Time magazine cover, and Good Morning America. “All you’re focusing on right now is gun control. What about the violence in our video games?” he told Matt Lauer, calling the issues “complicated.” He added, “The fact is I’m willing to have that conversation, that’s more than a lot of people will say.”
After James Holmes opened fire in a Colorado movie theater, the New Jersey governor said, “I think we have enough gun laws now,” and chided the “grandstanding” of politicians like, say, Michael Bloomberg. “People were just killed over the weekend. Can we take a deep breath before politicians start sending out press releases?” Christie said at the time.
In the past, though, Christie has come out against concealed-carry laws and supported the assault-weapons ban. “I favor some of the gun-control measures we have in New Jersey,” he told Sean Hannity in 2009, just one of many things national conservatives could find to dislike about the potential Republican savior. “I want to make sure that we don’t have an abundance of guns out there,” he added.