The two GOP candidates who have weathered the biggest storms of criticism from 2nd Amendment activists are again answering gun control questions… but this time they’re being a lot more careful about it.
On the heels of the horrible murders of a local news reporter and her cameraman in Virginia, Dr. Ben Carson made an appearance on CNN where he was pressed about the need for more gun control by host Don Lemon. Dr. Carson has had difficulty with conservatives in the past over his gun rights answers, so he was especially careful as he responded to the questions saying “People are the problem, not so much guns.” Carson also added that, “We have to recognize that we are a country of laws and we have a supreme law called the U.S. Constitution. The Second Amendment of that Constitution gives citizens the right to keep and bare arms. Therefore, anything that we’re going to do has to be done with respect to the Second Amendment.”
On CBS This Morning Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) faced similar questions from host Norah O’Donnell about gun violence and gun control. Christie too has had difficulty on the issue of gun rights in the past and went out of his way to be deferential to that constituency in this interview. He did his best to avoid any calls for more gun control, arguing that new gun laws weren’t needed and that better law enforcement and policing were actually the key.
Norah O’Donnell: New Jersey has one of the lowest rates of gun deaths in the country. Is that because of some of the gun control laws in your state?
Chris Christie: No, that’s because they have a governor who enforces the law and also supports community policing. And you look at crime exploding all over the country, but in Camden, New Jersey, which used to be the most dangerous city in America, we fired the entire police force three years ago, brought in a new police force that’s doing community policing. The murder rate in Camden the last three years is down 61 percent. Because people know two things: that as governor, I’ll do anything I have to do to protect the lives of the people of New Jersey and fight against these criminals, and second that we’re doing things like community policing so that the community and the police force are working together to protect their neighborhoods. That’s the kind of leadership we need in the country, and we don’t have it right now.
Norah O’Donnell: But in the case of this shooter, he didn’t set off any trip wires. He did have this history of complaints against him, of threatening people, but he legally purchased a gun. If you’re president, how do you stop something like that from happening?
Chris Christie: First off, we should do more about mental health in this country. The fact is that we need to have more information about people’s mental health background. But we don’t need new laws in this country to be able to do that–we have laws that exist now. We just need to enforce the ones that we do.
Norah O’Donnell: So you’re saying he should have been profiled–his mental health history?
Chris Christie: No, what I’m saying–I don’t know the particulars about him, yet, nor does anybody else. What I’m saying in general, the problem I see as the governor is we’re not focusing enough on mental health. All you’re hearing is, “Let’s have new laws,” when we don’t enforce the laws we have. You know, when I was U.S. Attorney in New Jersey for seven years, we enforced the gun laws against felons who held guns. They’re the ones who are committing most of the violent crime in this country, and yet we want to be calling for more laws. That’s for member of Congress to feel useful. Quite frankly, that’s not what we need to do.
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