Christie chides gun debate in Aurora aftermath
POSTED: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 4:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 4:14am
CNN — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday chastised those who seized on Friday's Aurora, Colorado, shooting to call for gun law changes, saying it was too soon to use the massacre as part of a political debate.
"This is just not the appropriate time to be grandstanding about gun laws," the Republican governor said at an event in Trenton, New Jersey. "Can we at least get through the initial grief and tragedy for these families before we start making them political pawns?"
While Christie didn't mention names, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been at the forefront of urging elected officials to clarify their positions on gun laws and offer solutions this weekend.
"You and I can't solve the problem, but we can demand that those elected officials who are, or want to be in charge, have a solution to the problem," Bloomberg said Monday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."
Christie, however, said he finds it too early to begin using the massacre as a rallying cry for political change.
"I am a little bit disturbed by politicians who, in the immediate aftermath of this type of tragedy, try to grandstand on it, and I'm not going to be one of those people," he said.
The Republican governor, a strong surrogate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said he agreed with President Barack Obama on the issue.
Speaking aboard Air Force One as the president flew Sunday to meet with families of those killed, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama did not have plans to push for new legislation in light of the Colorado massacre.
"The president's view is that we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law. And that's his focus right now," Carney said.
Romney also stated Monday that he saw no need for new laws, saying in a CNBC interview that he disagreed with the idea that "new laws are going to make a difference in this type of tragedy."
"There are, were, of course, very stringent laws which existed in Aurora, Colorado. Our challenge is not the laws. Our challenge is people who, obviously, are distracted from reality and do unthinkable, unimaginable, inexplicable things," Romney said.
Christie on Monday took the same position.
"I think that we've got enough gun laws now. It's time for us to address and enforce the gun laws that we have," he said.
CNN's Stephanie Gallman contributed to this report.
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