Gov. Chris Christie vetoed two bills on Wednesday, rejecting personalized “smart guns” and similar initiatives that could make guns more childproof.

Christie conditionally vetoed two bills that, he said, seek to further impede a citizen’s Second Amendment right to own a firearm in New Jersey, where he considers the restrictions to be among the most “unreasonable and onerous” in the country.

The governor’s actions would repeal a state law mandating the sale of firearms with “smart gun,” personalized firearm technology that has not been perfected, he said, in the 10 years the law has been on the books.

The purpose of the technology is to prevent children and others from using handguns, allowing only the owner access to the firearm.

Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Tim Eustace sponsored the bill that would update state law to help boost the proliferation of more childproof handguns, approving the legislation two months ago by a 44-30 vote.

The bill (S-816/A-1426), would create a roster of personalized handguns available for sale to the public and require most New Jersey gun retailers to carry them in their stores.

“Current law is intended to encourage the development of smart gun technology, but the prohibition on other handguns has, in effect, restricted consumer access to personalized handguns,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “This bill modernizes our law and is a reasonable approach to improving gun safety in our state, especially for children.”

Christie rejected their argument, citing how it goes against the free market.

“This bill would require firearms dealers to purchase and stock personalized handguns, regardless of whether there is any demand for such firearms,” Christie said, adding: “It also would introduce unnecessary bureaucracy into the analysis of whether firearms equipped with this anticipated technology will represent a reliable option for individuals to protect themselves and their families in their homes.”

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The governor also has proposed eliminating the “nearly-insurmountable justifiable need” standard and requiring the issuance of a carry permit to anyone who is not legally disqualified from possessing a firearm and who can demonstrate an understanding of the safe handling of a handgun.

This revised standard would allow law-abiding New Jersey residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights more reasonably, while still preventing dangerous persons from legally obtaining firearms, he said.

“The right to own a gun is a fundamental one enumerated in the Constitution,” said Christie. “I continue to oppose the relentless campaign by the Democratic legislature to make New Jersey as inhospitable as possible to lawful gun ownership and sales.”

Instead of remaining an outlier with overly burdensome restrictions of questionable constitutionality, he said, New Jersey “should follow the lead of the vast majority of states across the country and simplify, not complicate, the ability of responsible citizens, dealers and retailers, to buy, sell and possess firearms as protected by the Second Amendment.”‎


S-816/ACS for A-1426 (Weinberg, Codey/Johnson, Vainieri Huttle, Eustace, Wimberly) – CONDITIONAL -Establishes commission to approve personalized handguns; requires firearm retailers to sell handgun

A-3689/S-2165 (Greenwald, Houghtaling, Downey, Mosquera, Lampitt/Weinberg) – CONDITIONAL – Codifies regulations defining justifiable need to carry handgun