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Christie Declined To Defend NJ Gun Control Laws Upheld In State Court

Governors-race
AP Photo / Mel Evans

Judge Jane Grall, who wrote the court's opinion, expressed disappointment that the state refused to defend the laws.

"The Attorney General participated in the (trial court) but, regrettably, declined to participate here," Grall wrote. "This matter implicates criminal laws, involves a determination of the (trial court) and presents constitutional challenges to state statutes. The Attorney General is the State's Chief Law Enforcement Officer; the head of the Department of Law and Public Safety ... and is entitled to defend a challenge to a statute."

Because the state attorney general declined to defend the laws, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office defended the measures.

Christie voiced support for gun control in the past, but he has also towed the Republican party line by focusing on mental health measures to prevent violence. He signed a few gun control bills into law in August, most of which were uncontroversial, but left the more contentious bills on his desk.

The governor and potential GOP 2016 presidential nominee has also expressed contradictory views on immigration policy. While he used to support a path to citizenship and recently signed a bill granting in-state tuition to undocumented students, he recently declined to take a definitive stance on comprehensive immigration reform.