New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been riding a wave of momentum in New Hampshire, picking up coveted endorsements and rising in the polls. But Christie’s upswing has hit a snag. An influential gun group has put out a scathing notice about Christie to its politically engaged membership.
The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, one of two major pro-gun groups in the state, emailed its members Wednesday, telling them “don’t be fooled!” by the Republican presidential candidate’s tough talk about the Second Amendment.
“The truth is Chris Christie has been an anti gun activist for his entire political career,” the group’s vice president, Scott Krauss, wrote in the email.
The Second Amendment is an important issue to New Hampshire Republicans and the politically active membership could hinder Christie’s efforts in the state.
Christie has been on the uptick in the Granite State with his polling numbers on the rise, including the latest CNN/WMUR poll showing him in third place with nine percent support. He’s also picked up series of endorsements from political leaders there, including one from the state’s conservative newspaper the Union-Leader.
The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, which calls itself the state’s “only no-compromise” gun group, which has been skeptical of Christie’s commitment to the Second Amendment, agreed to a meeting with Christie after repeated requests from the governor’s staff.
State Representative JR Hoell, who is a member, said it has been three weeks since they have heard anything from Christie’s staff. He said that shows that Christie is not serious about explaining – or rectifying – his position on guns.
They point to Christie’s refusal to pardon several out-of-state visitors arrested under New Jersey’s “draconian” gun violations. They say that he could, as governor, enact a concealed carry law with reciprocity and that he appointed “anti-gun” county prosecutors.
Christie once supported the assault weapons ban, saying in 1993 that “no one needs a semiautomatic assault weapon.” More recently, in 2009, when he was running for governor, Christie also opposed an effort in Congress to pass the "right-to-carry reciprocity" bill that would allow valid gun owners to carry their guns into other states.
Related: Chris Christie’s Record on Guns Could Be Problematic in New Hampshire
Hoell, who personally supports Rand Paul, said that they sent the email to its members now because “with everybody endorsing Christie right now we thought it was the right time.”
Scott L. Bach, a Christie supporter from New Jersey who is also the executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, commended Christie’s work on guns in the state.
“Garden State gun owners owe Governor Christie a huge debt of gratitude – his historic vetoes, pardons, and executive actions have disrupted the gun ban agenda in New Jersey,” Bach said in a statement provided by the Christie campaign.
In the same email, the New Hampshire gun group also said Ohio Governor John Kasich is weak on gun rights.
“Bottom line: Governors Kasich and Christie have demonstrated by their actions that they are probably hostile to your Second Amendment rights,” Krauss wrote in the email.