Christie Says He Will Pardon Nonresidents Arrested Under N.J.'s Strict Gun Laws

photo from nydailynews.com.

While campaigning for the Republican president nomination in Iowa on Saturday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that he will likely pardon several people charged with firearms offenses in the Garden State, according to this story from nj.com.

This individuals will be those like Brian Fletcher, an out-of-stater whose firearm was illegal in his home state of North Carolina, but was illegal in N.J. because the state doesn't recognize any permits issued by other states. Fletcher was arrested for having a gun in his truck while volunteering to make emergency, storm-related utility repairs in Trenton.

Christie said he supported the introduction of a firearm permit reciprocity law that would honor out-of-state gun carry permits, but didn't expect the Democratic-controlled legislature to cooperate, the story says.

"I think the law is wrong," said Christie. "we need to be smarter about the way we do this. What I don't want is for folks to feel like they can't come into our state, and be able to travel through it, or visit it, and have to make sure they go on the Internet and look up exactly how you're supposed to be dealing with the gun laws."

Christie specifically referred to Fletcher's case, saying "We have this gentleman who we're considering right now for pardon, from North Carolina who was up here, helping New Jersey after the storm to repair cell towers. This is just not the right way to do these things. This was not a guy who was a threat to anybody."

Someone like Elizabeth J. Griffith of Daytona Beach, Florida, could face ten years in prison. She was arrested after carrying her Florida-legal firearm while visiting Liberty State Park in Jersey City in July.

At the moment, 37 states have carry-permit reciprocity agreements with at least one other state. Some states like Kentucky and Ohio recognize any carry permit issued by any state.

"I don't know why the Legislature won't change something like this when they, over and over again, see folks who are legal carriers of guns in other states, who are coming through here and not doing anything other than traveling through New Jersey," Christie said. "It doesn't make any sense."

In June, Christie pardoned Steffon Josey-Davis of all criminal charges after he was arrested for having a legally owned firearm in the glove compartment of his car. Christie also recently pardoned Shanneen Allen, a Pennsylvania woman who was arrested under similar circumstances, and commuted the sentence of Brian Aitken in 2010, who had been convicted of possessing three handguns he had legally purchased in Colorado.

In 2014, Christie vetoed a bill that would have banned high-capacity magazines in New Jersey, as well as a proposed ban on .50-caliber rifles.

Christie, during his tenure as governor, as also signed a bill into law that increased penalties for unlawful possession of guns, and another that requires the state to cooperate with the federal criminal background check system.