Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that neither lobbying from gun rights advocates nor visits from parents of children killed in the 2012 Connecticut school shooting affected his decision to veto a major gun control bill last week.
The bill would have limited the size of ammunition magazines from 15 to 10. In its place, Christie sent the Legislature a list of reforms for strengthening the state's mental health system.
But the parents of children killed by a mass shooter in Newtown, Conn., did lobbying of their own, and they said Christie ignored them in a "cowardly political move." Democrats agreed, saying Christie was pandering to pro-gun Republicans in early presidential primary states like New Hampshire.
At a news conference Monday, Christie said his decisions are based on what's best for the state, not for his political future.
The Sandy Hook parents traveled to the Statehouse last week with a petition of 55,000 signatures. Christie wouldn't meet with them. He said Monday that he already vetoed the legislation when they arrived but hadn't yet announced it. And he said that he had met with a Sandy Hook father for quite some time last year.
Christie, a former federal prosecutor, explained that he just didn't agree with the argument that reducing magazine clips to 10 would reduce the number of lives lost in a mass shooting. Instead, he described it as a path toward banning guns entirely.
"If you take the logical conclusion of their argument, you go to zero," Christie said. "Because every life is valuable. And so why 10? Why not six? Why not two? Why not one? Why not zero? Why not just ban guns completely? I mean, you know so the logical conclusion of their argument is that you get to zero eventually."