As W. Mitt Romney
holds auditions for the bottom of his ticket, one of the names on everyone's
short list is New Jersey Gov. Christopher J. Christie.
But, a Garden
State gun rights leader warns that Republican heavyweight is not the strong
advocate for the Second Amendment and gun owners he led people to believe when
he ran for governor in 2009.
Frank Jack Fiamingo, the president of the New
Jersey Second Amendment Society, said if Christie became vice-president, he
has no expectations that Christie would advocate at all for gun owner rights.
"None, whatsoever. I honestly don't because there has been no
At critical junctures, Christie has failed to side with New
Jersey gun owners, he said. In addition to policy, Christie nominated anti-gun
owners Democrat Paula T. Dow, first as the state's attorney general, then to a
temporary senior legal position at the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey. Once her tenure at the Port Authority is complete, the governor has
announced that he will nominate her to a judgeship in northern New
The society's big push is Operation Compliance, a project that
targets local governments that adds new requirements or new delays on gun
permitting in violation in state law, he said.
When society members
confront local officials with the state law, the members are told that officials
are following directives from the state police, he said. The state police in
turn, say they receive guidance from the governor's office. "It is a problem he
could solve with the stroke of a pen."
The case of Brian Aiken is a case
study in how Christie operates, Fiamingo said. In the process of moving from his
parents' house to a new apartment in Hoboken after living for years in Colorado,
Aiken was caught with two guns and magazines in his trunk and some hollow-point
In New Jersey, you can only have your weapon in your home or at
the range with limited privilege to have the guns and ammunition in
Aiken's jury was never told by the judge that state law has a
waiver for a gun owner who is in the process of moving, he said. Aiken was
sentenced to seven years in prison.
After four months of protests from
gun owners in the state and nationally, Christie commuted the sentence instead
of granting a pardon, he said. With the commutation, the felony conviction is
not vacated, so although he is not longer in jail, Aiken's gun rights were not
The Second Amendment Society of New Jersey was founded July 12,
2010 with nine other men in Fiamingo's kitchen, he said. "We started with 10 and
now we have many thousands of members and supporters."
retired computer professional said he did not own a gun until he was 61 and his
real motivation is to defend and restore gun rights.
"We are not asking
for the right, the right exists," he said. "We are not begging for crumps from
the table of our lord and master. The right exist and they need to stop
infringing on our right."
NJ2AS did not exist in the last governor's
race, but Fiamingo said he is exploring how whether the group can make
endorsements given its non-profit status.
It may be the case that there
may have to be a separate group devoted to politics, he said.
In a race
between Christie and his presumed Democratic opponent State Senate President
Stephen M. Sweeney, Fiamingo it would be a toss-up for New Jersey gun
After he became the senate president in 2010, Sweeney promised
that he would block any new restrictions on gun rights, he said. "So far, he has
kept that promise." Sweeney is a gun owner and sportsman.
"For me it
really comes down to two parts," he said. "Christie has done nothing for us and
Sweeney has done nothing against us."
This week, I hope you enjoy reading
Ted Nugent's column, which will be a regular feature. Nugent is one of the great
advocates for restoring gun rights in America.