Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie Sees No Link between Low Murder Rate, Tough Gun Laws

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Christie Sees No Link between Low Murder Rate, Tough Gun Laws

Article excerpt

Governor Christie said Sunday he believes there is no correlation between New Jersey's tough gun control laws and the fact that the state has one of the lowest murder rates in the nation.

Referring to the mass shooting that took nine lives Thursday at a community college in Roseburg, Ore., George Stephanopoulos asked Christie on ABC's "This Week" if he thought New Jersey's experience showed that tough gun laws could make a difference.

"Look at your state -- it has some of the toughest gun laws and one of the lowest murder rates," Stephanopoulos said. "Isn't there a correlation?"

"I don't think there is," Christie replied, adding that he was "very concerned about the mental health side of this."

Christie said he had proposed making "involuntary commitment of people who speak violently easier for doctors."

"I've heard doctors in my state say the laws are so difficult and murky," the governor said. "Let's work on those kinds of things. I think that makes sense."

Christie added, "But let's remember something else -- in many of the places around this country where they have the toughest gun laws, they have the highest violent crime rates."

Describing the shooting at Umpqua Community College as "an awful tragedy," Christie called it "the exception to violence in America."

"Violence in America, that's happened on our streets, in our cities, like Chicago, up 19 percent, the murder rate, New York, up 11 percent. And you have some of the most aggressive gun laws in cities like that."

Stephanopoulos pressed: "But there's no question the pace of mass shootings is accelerating, happening more frequently than anywhere else. If it's not the gun, then what is it? What is the answer? What is so unique about American culture and American psychology?"

Christie replied, "It's a really complex problem, but I think it's about the mental health issues, and I don't think we're as aggressive as we should be. …

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