Gov. Christie Says Strict N.J. Gun Laws Prevented Woman's Self-Defense

Carol Bowne was killed by her ex-boyfriend, Michael Eitel, who stabbed her to death in her driveway on June 3. Bowne had a protective order against Eitel, and was waiting for a firearms permit.

New Jersey Governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie has been making headlines involving gun laws this week. Christie recently pardoned resident Steffon Josey-Davis, who was arrested last year for having a legally owned firearm in his glove compartment. According to New Jersey laws, this counted as a concealed weapon, for which hardly anyone in the state is issued a permit.

Christie sounded off on his state's gun laws on Tuesday, saying he regrets that New Jersey "is not yet a dictatorship" that would allow him to scrap the state's tough, and some would say draconian, gun laws, according to this story from NJ.com. Christie also said Democrats in the state legislature "are going to have to answer" for the state's gun laws, mentioning the death last week of a New Jersey woman killed by an ex-boyfriend while awaiting a firearms license.

Carol Bowne, a hairdresser in Berlin, N.J., had been threatened by her ex, Michael Eitel, and she'd obtained protective order against him. She also installed security cameras around her home and tried to get a gun. She'd been waiting weeks for her firearms permit to be ready, checking on it's progress as recently as June 1. On June 3, Eitel stabbed her to death in her driveway before hanging himself at another ex-girlfriend's house, according to this story on BearingArms.com.

Christie was asked about Bowne's murder while taking questions from the audience at the Saint Anselm Institute of Politics.

Gov Says Strict N.J. Gun Laws Prevented Woman's Self-Defense
Gov. Chris Christie speaks to an attendee of Saint Anselm College's Institute of Politics 2016 speaker series.photo from NJ.com

"I'm dealing with a Democratic legislature—that's what New Jersey's given me," said Christie in response. "They have a very, very different view of the Second Amendment than I do. But they're going to have to answer for these things. There was, apparently, a protest this weekend, in front of the Senate President's home, for folks regarding the Carol Bowne situation."

Christie said that "the Carol Bowne situation is going to force more conversation in our state, although I am not confident that it will change," according to the story. "No matter what laws they pass, the governor does have the right to look at the administration of justice. And if I think an injustice has been committed, I have under the constitution, pardon power to do that. This is the third person that I've pardoned that I thought was inappropriately charged and convicted."

Christie's pardon of Josey-Davis is the Governor's second on gun-related issues. He recently pardoned Shaneen Allen, a Pennsylvania women who was arrested under similar circumstances. He also commuted the sentence of Brian Aitken in 2010, who had been convicted of illegally possessing three handguns he had legally purchased in Colorado, from seven years to time served.

Last July, Christie vetoed a bill that would have banned high-capacity magazines, leaving the limit in NJ at 15 rounds.

During a press conference after his address, Christie was asked if he supported a recent move by the state Legislature to repeal a controversial state law that called for all guns sold in the state to be "smart guns" as soon as the technology became available nationally.

"They should repeal it," Christie said. "The technology doesn't exist. It's been on the books for I think almost 14 years. It's another one of those pie-in-the-sky Democrat ideas, and they should just repeal it."

The Handgun Trigger Safety Act was introduced earlier this month, which would require all new guns to be fitted with smart gun technology and all used guns to be retrofitted with the tech, at a federal level.