Will NRA Call GOP Savior Gov. Christie A Gun Grabber?

September 29, 2011 10:54 am ET — Matt Gertz

Republican commentators, dispirited over the state of their presidential field after last week's debate, are searching for a new candidate to drag into the race, with many settling on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol says Christie has "a duty to your country to step forward," while Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, who has invited her readers to give the governor advice on how to announce his candidacy, reports that Christie's recent speech at the Reagan library featured "a microcosm of the party ... imploring the newest GOP rock star to run."

It will be interesting to see what happens if Christie enters the race, forcing the GOP base to confront aspects of his record other than his tendency to yell at schoolteachers. For instance, New York Times blogger Nate Silver writes of Christie's position on gun violence:

Gun Control. New Jersey, a mostly suburban state, tends to take a moderate position on gun control, and Mr. Christie has in the past as well. In 2009, Mr. Christie's campaign rebutted a claim by his Democratic opponent, Jon Corzine, that he stood with the N.R.A. by pointing out that Mr. Christie supported the assault weapons ban and opposed concealed carry laws. A statement on Mr. Christie's campaign Web site in 2009 said that he supported New Jersey's existing gun control laws, which are fairly strict.

Beyond Christie's position on the issue, listen to how he talked about it during this 2009 interview with Sean Hannity:

HANNITY: Are there any issues where you are, quote, moderate to left as a Republican?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I favor some of the gun control measures we have in New Jersey.

HANNITY: Bad idea.

CHRISTIE: Listen, we have a densely populated state, and there's a big hand gun problem in New Jersey. Now, I don't support all the things that the governor supports by a long stretch. But I think guys — certain gun control issues, looking at it from a law-enforcement perspective, seeing how many police officers were killed, we have an illegal gun problem in New Jersey.

HANNITY: Should every — should every citizen in the state be allowed to get a licensed weapon if they want one?

CHRISTIE: In New Jersey, that's not going to happen, Sean.

HANNITY: Why?

CHRISTIE: Listen, the Democratic legislature we have, there's no way that it's not — listen, at the end of the day, what I support are common sense laws that will allow people to protect themselves, but I also am very concerned about the safety of our police officers on the streets, very concerned. And I want to make sure that we don't have an abundance of guns out there.

Chris Christie "want[s] to make sure that we don't have an abundance of guns out there." NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre would call that a 'massive Christie conspiracy.'

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