CNN's Partnership With Reagan Presidential Library For Tonight's GOP Debate Highlights Candidates' Extreme Views On Guns

CNN's decision to partner with the Reagan Presidential Library to host the second GOP presidential debate means it's all but certain that media covering the event will draw comparisons between the 2016 Republican field and America's 40th president. When it comes to gun policies, at least, the difference is stark: While Reagan supported background checks, waiting periods on gun sales, and bans on assault weapons, the current GOP presidential hopefuls all hold what can only be called extreme positions on gun regulation.

CNN To Host Second GOP Presidential Primary Debate September 16 At The Reagan Presidential Library

11 Candidates Will Appear In CNN's Primetime Debate. CNN has invited billionaire businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Hewitt-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to participate in the second primetime GOP debate. [Associated Press, 9/10/15]

Ronald Reagan, Who Survived Attack By Gun-Wielding Would-Be Assassin, Championed Background Check Bill, Supported Waiting Periods And Banning Assault Weapons

Reagan Pushed For Background Check Legislation Named For His Press Secretary Who Was Grievously Wounded In Assassination Attempt. Reagan was a prominent supporter of the Brady Bill, which implemented mandatory background checks on gun sales from licensed dealers. In 1981, Reagan was shot in the chest during an assassination attempt and his press secretary, Jim Brady, was shot in the head. Brady's mortal injuries ultimately caused his death in 2014, which was ruled a homicide. Two law enforcement officers who were protecting Reagan were also shot. In 1991, the 10th anniversary of the attempt on his life, Reagan wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which he expressed his support for the Brady Bill -- then being debated in Congress -- and touted the legislation's (since-expired) waiting period for handgun sales:

This nightmare might never have happened if legislation that is before Congress now -- the Brady bill -- had been law back in 1981.

Named for Jim Brady, this legislation would establish a national seven-day waiting period before a handgun purchaser could take delivery. It would allow local law enforcement officials to do background checks for criminal records or known histories of mental disturbances. Those with such records would be prohibited from buying the handguns.

While there has been a Federal law on the books for more than 20 years that prohibits the sale of firearms to felons, fugitives, drug addicts and the mentally ill, it has no enforcement mechanism and basically works on the honor system, with the purchaser filling out a statement that the gun dealer sticks in a drawer.

The Brady bill would require the handgun dealer to provide a copy of the prospective purchaser's sworn statement to local law enforcement authorities so that background checks could be made. Based upon the evidence in states that already have handgun purchase waiting periods, this bill -- on a nationwide scale -- can't help but stop thousands of illegal handgun purchases.

And, since many handguns are acquired in the heat of passion (to settle a quarrel, for example) or at times of depression brought on by potential suicide, the Brady bill would provide a cooling-off period that would certainly have the effect of reducing the number of handgun deaths. [The New York Times, 3/29/91]

Reagan Called For Congress To Pass An Assault Weapons Ban In 1994. Reagan co-authored an open letter to Congress in 1994 with former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter that urged lawmakers to pass an assault weapons ban, calling the measure “a matter of vital importance to the public safety” :

To Members of the U.S. House of Representatives:

We are writing to urge your support for a ban on the domestic manufacture of military-style assault weapons. This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety. Although assualt weapons account for less than 1% of the guns in circulation, they account for nearly 10% of the guns traced to crime.

Every major law enforcement organization in America and dozens of leading labor, medical, religious, civil rights and civic groups support such a ban. Most importantly, poll after poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly support a ban on assault weapons. A 1993 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 77% of Americans support a ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47.

The 1989 import ban resulted in an impressive 40% drop in imported assault weapons traced to crime between 1989 and 1991, but the killing continues. Last year, a killer armed with two TEC9s killed eight people at a San Francisco law firm and wounded several others. During the past five years, more than 40 law enforcement officers have been killed or wounded in the line of duty by an assault weapon.

While we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals. We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons. [Los Angeles Times, 5/5/94]

Buzzfeed: 1994 Assault Weapons Ban Would Not Have Passed The House Without Reagan's Support. Reagan is credited with persuading two congressmen to change their votes, which allowed the bill to pass by a 216 to 214 margin:

The vote on the assault weapon ban was contentious and barely passed the House of Representatives. At least two members of the House of Representatives credited Reagan with influencing their votes. The bill passed 216-214, a margin of two votes.

Congressman Scott Klug, a Republican from Wisconsin was an opponent of the assault weapon ban and the day before the vote stated his opposition to the ban. Klug only changed his voted after “a last minute plea from President Reagan” in the form of a handwritten note.

[...]

Another former Congressman, New Hampshire Democrat Dick Swett, also credited the former President with influencing his vote. Swett was unsure of how to vote on the ban, but made up his made after direct lobbying from Reagan. [Buzzfeed, 12/19/12]

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush Signed The Nation's First “Stand Your Ground” Law While Governor Of Florida. Florida's controversial “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law, which was implicated in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, was signed into law in 2005 by Bush. In an interview with Media Matters, National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbyist and past president Marion Hammer acknowledged that the NRA helped draft the law, which was later promoted and adopted in other states at the behest of the NRA and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). [Media Matters, 3/27/12]

NRA Magazine: Jeb Bush Is One Of NRA Lobbyist's “Most Ardent Supporters.” The June 2005 issue of the NRA's magazine, America's 1st Freedomfeatured a picture of Bush, Hammer, and NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre with a caption that described Bush and LaPierre as Hammer's “most ardent supporters” :

[America's 1st Freedom, June 2005, via Media Matters]

Bush Defended “Stand Your Ground” At The NRA's 2015 Meeting. During remarks at the NRA's 2015 convention in Nashville, Bush defended signing “Stand Your Ground” into law, declaring, “You shouldn't have to choose between being attacked and going to jail.” [CNN.com, 4/10/15]

Donald Trump

In An Interview With Fringe Gun Website, Trump Attacked Assault Weapons Bans And Expanded Background Checks, And Repeated Falsehoods About Bill Clinton's Policies. In an interview with far-right website Ammoland.com, Trump said, “to the Left every gun is an assault weapon,” stated that he does “not support expanding background checks,” and revived the falsehood that former President Bill Clinton banned guns on military bases (emphasis original):

Donald Trump:

“I certainly stand by my opposition to Gun Control when it comes to taking guns from law-abiding citizens.  You mention that the media describes the AR-15 as an ” assault rifle," which is one example of the many distortions they use to sell their agenda. However, the AR-15 does not fall under this category. Gun-banners are unfortunately preoccupied with the AR-15, magazine capacity, grips, and other aesthetics, precisely because of its popularity."

“To the Left every gun is an assault weapon.”

“Gun control does not reduce crime. It has consistently failed to stop violence. Americans are entitled to protect their families, their property and themselves. In fact, in right-to-carry states the violent crime rate is 24% lower than the rest of the United States and the murder rate is 28% lower. This should not be up for debate.”

[...]

Donald Trump:

“I do not support expanding background checks. The current background checks do not work.”

“They make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to acquire firearms while consistently failing to stop criminals from getting guns. We should re-examine our policy to make sure that these prohibitions do not impede law abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights.”

[...]

Donald Trump:

"[gun free zones] No, not optional. As Commander-in-Chief, I would mandate that soldiers remain armed and on alert at our military bases.

President Clinton never should have passed a ban on soldiers being able to protect themselves on bases. America's Armed Forces will be armed.

They will be able to defend themselves against terrorists. Our brave soldiers should not be at risk because of policy created by civilian leadership. Political correctness has no place in this debate." [Ammoland.com, 7/7/15]

For more information on the false claim that Bill Clinton banned guns on military bases, click here.

Ben Carson

Carson Said People Should Be Able To Own “Any Kind Of Weapon” During Conference Call With Supporters. During a November 2014 call with supporters, Carson sought to clarify previous comments he made that had been interpreted as favoring a ban on semi-automatic weapons and argued the “carnage” of gun violence “is secondary to the desire to always defend the Second Amendment” :

Carson said that he could have been more precise in his answer to Beck.

“Perhaps I didn't convey it appropriately,” he said. “I wanted to convey that, you know, I've lived in urban areas. I've worked in urban areas. I've seen a lot of carnage, and I'd prefer a situation where the kinds of weapons that create that kind of carnage don't fall to the hands of criminal elements or insane people. But that is secondary to the desire to always defend the Second Amendment.”

Carson said that “under no circumstances” would he “allow a bureaucrat to remove any law-abiding citizen's rights for any kind of weapon that they want to protect themselves.”

If he were in a position of national leadership, Carson said he would seek to allow people to possess any kind of weapon they can legally buy, including “automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons.” [Bloomberg Politics, 11/20/14]

Ted Cruz

Cruz Led Filibuster Against Post-Sandy Hook Background Check Bill. Prior to the April 2013 vote on background check legislation in the U.S. Senate, Cruz co-authored a letter with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that vowed to “oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.” In April, background check legislation received a majority vote in the Senate, but didn't survive the filibuster. [Politico, 3/25/13, The Washington Post, 4/17/13]

Cruz Is Endorsed By Gun Owners Of America (GOA), A Group Whose Leader Had Ties To White Supremacists. Noting that Cruz was the only candidate “who has completed and returned the GOA presidential survey on the Second Amendment,” GOA endorsed Cruz for president in a September 8 statement. GOA opposes requiring any background checks on gun sales, and its leader, Larry Pratt, has suggested that mass shootings are staged by the government to increase support for gun regulations and repeatedly said that politicians who favor gun violence prevention laws should fear being shot by a GOA supporter. Pratt was forced off Pat Buchanan's 1996 presidential campaign after it was revealed that he spoke to racist groups at militia gatherings. From GOA's September statement endorsing Cruz:

Gun Owners of America is proud to endorse Senator Ted Cruz for the office of President of the United States.

While there are many candidates in the race, Ted Cruz is the only one who has completed and returned the GOA presidential survey on the Second Amendment.

Cruz has been a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights as a U.S. Senator, and he will continue to defend our gun rights from the Oval Office. [Gun Owners of America, 9/8/15]

To read more about the extremism of GOA and its leader Larry Pratt, click here.

Cruz Invoked Reagan During GOA Town Hall Meeting, Said GOA Was “Critical” To His Election As Senator. During a May 27 “Tele-Town Hall” appearance, Cruz praised GOA, saying the group “endorsed me early on when I ran for the Senate and played a critical part in helping get me elected” and used a quote by Reagan to praise GOA:

CRUZ: Let me start by just saying thank you to all the men and women of Gun Owners of America. GOA endorsed me early on when I ran for the Senate and played a critical part in helping get me elected and sending me from the state of Texas to represent 27 million Texans and to stand up and to fight for our rights and I'm grateful to be with each of you because the men and women on this call are fighters, you are men and women of action, you are patriots, and this is the time when that is exactly what is needed in our country.

[...]

CRUZ: I believe our country is at a crisis point where it is now or never. And I also believe that 2016 is an election very much like 1980. I think there are striking similarities between Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama and the way to win is just like Ronald Reagan said, to paint in bold colors and not pale pastels. I think if we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole or a John McCain or a Mitt Romney, all of whom are good, honorable men, but what they did didn't work. Every time we run to the mushy middle we lose and I agree with Ronald Reagan who said we must paint in bold colors and not pale pastels, that's why I'm running and that's one of the things I love about GOA is GOA has never been accused of painting in pale pastels. [Gun Owners of America, 5/27/15, via Media Matters]

Scott Walker

Walker Signed Legislation To Allow Guns On The Campuses Of Public Colleges And Universities In 2011. Walker has worked to weaken Wisconsin's gun laws throughout his tenure as governor, most notably making Wisconsin one of the first states in the nation to adopt legislation to allow the carrying of guns on college campuses, when he signed an expansive 2011 concealed-carry law. [JSOnline.com, 7/8/11]

Just Weeks After Sikh Temple Massacre, Walker Told The NRA That Wisconsin Hadn't Had Any Recent “Crazy Shootouts.” During an August 2012 interview on the NRA's radio show, an NRA News producer asked Walker if there had been any “crazy shootouts” since Wisconsin loosened its gun laws in July 2011. Walker replied that “none of the bad things we heard talked about” happened. Walker's comment came three weeks after a white supremacist shot six people to death in an attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin:

CAMERON GRAY, NRA NEWS PRODUCER: Governor, after you signed concealed carry in Wisconsin -- I was your first interview, it's good to talk to you again -- since then how has the Wild West been? How have the crazy shootouts been? How out of control are the shootings in Wisconsin? [laughter]

GOV. SCOTT WALKER: Well as you can imagine all the hysteria went just the opposite way. Actually, you know one of the most interesting things is when I go to deployments -- deployments of members of the National Guard from Wisconsin -- I get members of the National Guard that come up and thank me for that. And more often than not it's female members of the Guard who come up and thank me. And actually many times they pull out their concealed carrier card and ask me to sign it in person for them. But none of the hysteria, none of the bad things we heard talked about. Instead what we saw was law-abiding citizens having the ability to exercise the right to protect not only themselves but their family and property. [NRA News, Cam & Company, 8/27/12, via Media Matters]

Marco Rubio

Rubio Wants To Repeal All Of Washington D.C.'s Gun Laws. On March 26, Rubio introduced legislation to eliminate the District of Columbia's gun laws, which go beyond federal law by requiring background checks for all sales, banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines, and requiring gun registration and licensing, among other measures:

Two high-profile Republicans in Congress, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), have introduced legislation that would undo the District's gun laws, which are among the strictest in the nation.

[...]

Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said the legislation is necessary to protect a fundamental right that all Americans should have -- including residents of the nation's capital.

“In order to achieve the American Dream, people need to be able to live in safe communities and be able to protect themselves, their families and their properties from danger,” Rubio said. “For years, the District of Columbia has infringed on its residents' Second Amendment rights and rendered them vulnerable to criminals who could care less what the gun laws are.”

[...]

“It should shock no one that Sen. Rubio, who is widely expected to soon announce a run for president, would try to raise his national profile and conservative bona fides,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's nonvoting member of Congress. “But they should be shocked to hear that he would try to use our local jurisdiction and laws to violate his own support for the principle of local control. Such bullying is not very presidential.” [The Washington Post, 3/26/15]

Rubio Voted For Florida's First-In-The-Nation “Stand Your Ground” Law As A Florida House Member. After Trayvon Martin's killing, Rubio told Politico, “I voted for the law because the law had sound rationale, and I think it still does.” [Politico, 3/27/12]

Carly Fiorina

Fiorina Said People On The National “No-Fly List” Should Be Able To Buy Guns. During a 2010 debate with California Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Fiorina argued that individuals on the “no-fly list” should be able to buy guns. Fiorina misstated several facts about who is covered by the no-fly list to justify her position:

The debate between Boxer and Fiorina over the no-fly list emerged after a May primary debate in Los Angeles at which the moderator asked Fiorina and her then-opponents whether people on the “no-fly watch list” should “be allowed to purchase a gun.” Fiorina said they should: “The no-fly list has been, unfortunately, way too large, and I know people who have been on it who have been stopped and if we permit anyone who is on that no-fly list to have their 2nd Amendment rights taken away from them, that's a terrible problem,” she said.

During a subsequent debate with Boxer in September in Moraga, Fiorina asserted that her sister-in-law, a friend's husband and the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts had all been on the no-fly list, which she added “isn't particularly well managed.”

But Fiorina was mistaken at least in part, according to the Transportation Security Administration. A myth-fact document on the TSA website states that Kennedy was never on the no-fly list -- and was among many individuals who have been misidentified as being on the list, most often because their name closely matched that of someone on the watch list.

Though Fiorina has said “the no-fly list and the terrorist watch list are quite different things,” the no-fly list is actually a very small subset of the Terrorist Screening Database, a list of known or suspected terrorists maintained by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center that is often described as the terrorist watch list.

Although about 420,000 individuals are on the terrorist watch list, fewer than 10,000 people are on the no-fly list, a senior counterterrorism official said Monday in a telephone interview. More than 95% of the people on the no-fly list are not U.S. citizens, the official said, and anyone on the no-fly list is prohibited from boarding a commercial aircraft. [Los Angeles Times, 10/18/10]

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee Compared Gun Violence Prevention Efforts To Nazi Germany. Huckabee suggested on his April 13, 2013, radio show that the government could be planning to confiscate firearms in preparation for launching a dictatorship, after a caller compared conditions in the United States to those of Nazi Germany. The exchange happened at the height of debate over new gun laws that followed the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting:

CALLER: I'm very concerned, it seems like there's so many people who have not read and do not understand how quickly Germany was turned into, it was a democracy, then turned into a dictatorship by everyone having to register their guns and then they went door to door and collected them.

HUCKABEE: People do forget that. And by the way, [caller] know, that when you bring that up you get people who get crazy on us, and they'll start saying, “Oh there you go comparing to the Nazis.” And I understand the reaction, but it's the truth. You cannot take people's rights away if they're resisting and if they have the means to resist, but once they're disarmed and the people who are trying to take over have all the power, not just political, not just financial, but they have the physical power to domesticate us and to subjugate us to our will there's not a whole lot we can do about it other than just plan to die in the course of resistance. It's very true [caller], and I appreciate you bringing it up. I know that people are probably calling and saying you know you shouldn't have brought that up. In every society and culture where dictators take over, one of the things they have to do is get control of the military and the police and ultimately all of the citizens and make sure the citizens are disarmed and can't fight in the streets. Gosh I hope it doesn't come to that. [The Mike Huckabee Show, 4/3/13, via Media Matters]

Huckabee On Assault Weapons: “A Pencil Is An Assault Weapon If You Poke It In Someone's Eye.” During a February talk to promote his book, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, Huckabee compared the lethality of assault weapons to pencils:

HUCKABEE: I'll never forget sitting around with my own staff at Fox News, New Yorkers all, and something came up about guns and they were saying about how 'nobody should ever own an AR-15, there's just no reason to own an assault weapon.' And I said, 'Every weapon is an assault weapon, a pencil is an assault weapon if you poke it in someone's eye.' Then I really shocked them when I said, 'AR-15s, I got several of them.' They were scared to death, I thought they were going to dive under the table, I really did, it was like they were, 'He's a psychopath.' [Right Wing Watch, 2/19/15]

John Kasich

After Voting For 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, Kasich Has Regained The NRA's Favor. Since drawing the NRA's ire for backing the assault weapons ban when he was in Congress, Kasich has repeatedly signed legislation to loosen Ohio's gun laws, and now has an “A” rating from the NRA, which says Kasich has developed “a more respectful view of the Second Amendment” :

In the wake of the shooting deaths of eight people in 1993 in San Francisco by a man with an automatic pistol, Kasich joined 215 other House members in 1994 to ban the production and sale of 19 semi-automatic assault weapons.

The NRA's response was quick: It awarded Kasich, then a Republican congressman from Westerville, a grade of F. When Kasich ran for governor in 2010, the NRA was still smoldering. It endorsed Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who as a House member in 1994 had voted against the same weapons ban.

Yet as Kasich prepares a run for the 2016 presidential nomination, he has worked his way back into good standing with the NRA, an organization whose endorsement will carry considerable sway in the race for the Republican presidential nomination next year.

[...]

Not only did the NRA bump up Kasich's grade from a B in 2010 to a solid A last year, but the organization also endorsed Kasich against Democrat Ed Fitzgerald. And Kasich now is describing the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms as “an inviolate part of our constitution.”

[...]

“I've come to learn that you can pass all the laws you want, but if they don't work, there's no reason to pass them if it doesn't have an impact, if it doesn't have an effect,” Kasich said. “Over time, you come to really begin to understand people's deep, deep, deep commitment to the Second Amendment, and I share that.”

For that, the NRA is glad that “Gov. Kasich's position on firearms, especially when addressing concealed carry and transportation issues, has shifted to reflect a more respectful view of the Second Amendment and law-abiding citizens' right to exercise their constitutional freedoms,” said Lars Dalseide, an NRA spokesman in suburban Washington. [The Columbus Dispatch, 6/29/15]

Rand Paul

Like Ted Cruz, Paul Was At The Forefront Of Filibuster To Defeat Post-Sandy Hook Background Check Legislation. [Politico, 3/25/13, The Washington Post, 4/17/13]

Paul Sent Fundraising Email For Fringe Gun Group That Claimed UN Treaty Would Lead Confiscation Of Guns In the United States. Paul is closely associated with the National Association For Gun Rights, a conspiratorial organization more extreme than the NRA. In a 2011 fundraising email, Paul claimed that Hillary Clinton would use the UN Arms Trade Treaty to disarm Americans, as Think Progress reported:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has a real knack for paranoia. Playing the hero in his contrived world of made-up threats, Paul battles the menacing enemies of pregnant women, American babies, and the Department of Education. On Monday, Paul's right-wing fan base got a sneak peek at Paul's next target: the U.N. Small Arms Treaty.

In an email to supporters, Paul warned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the “global gun-grabbers” are out to “strip you and me of ALL our freedoms” by signing a treaty designed by the “petty dictators and one-world socialists who control the UN” to “CONFISCATE and DESTROY” all civilian firearms across the world. With his trusty sidekick the National Association For Gun Rights and a financial contribution from his base, Paul can “lead the fight to defeat this radical treaty” [Think Progress, 2/2/11]

To read more about conspiracy theories about the UN Arms Trade Treaty, click here.

Chris Christie

Christie Vetoed A Ban On .50 Caliber Sniper Rifles, A Weapon That Can Hit Targets From Miles Away. After suggesting that .50 caliber sniper rifles are not used in crimes, Christie vetoed a proposal to ban such weapons in August 2013, despite previously supporting the measure:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed legislation on Friday that would have banned .50-caliber rifles from the state, despite backing the same proposal just months ago.

In April 2013, Christie recommended banning the sale of Barrett .50-caliber semi-automatic sniper rifles as part of a group of proposals to curb gun violence. On Friday, Christie said the ban wouldn't make the Garden State any more safe, according to Reuters.

“Tellingly, the legislature points to no instance of this class of firearms being used by even a single criminal in New Jersey,” he said. “The wide scope of this total ban, therefore, will not further public safety, but only interfere with lawful recreational pastimes.”

The Washington Post reports State Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D) called Christie's veto “a failure in leadership” and a move meant to appease Republicans. [Huffington Post, 8/17/13]

To read more about the dangers posed by .50 caliber sniper rifles, click here.

Christie Vetoed A Limitation On High-Capacity Gun Ammunition Magazines Despite Extensive Lobbying By Sandy Hook Parents. In July 2014, Christie vetoed legislation passed in New Jersey to limit gun ammunition magazines to 10 rounds:

On Wednesday morning, parents of victims killed in the Sandy Hook massacre delivered a 55,000-signature petition to Gov. Chris Christie (R) imploring him to sign a modest gun reform law that would reduce the number of rounds permissible in gun magazines from 15 to 10. An hour later, Christie vetoed that bill, saying it was the “very embodiment of reform in name only.”

Christie sent the bill back as a “conditional veto” with calls to reform the mental health system, but his veto effectively killed the provision that would have limited the number of bullets in a magazine.

"[H]is statement accusing us of 'grandstanding' and furthering 'empty rhetoric' is a blow to the memories of our children," said Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden, who both lost their first-grade sons during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. "... If Governor Christie truly wants to make meaningful reform, then focusing on what actually works would include the mental health reforms he proposes PLUS the limitation on high capacity magazines."

Since 1984, there have been at least 12 mass shootings in which the shooter used magazines holding between 10 and 15 rounds, according to the Violence Policy Center. In the Tuscon, Ariz. shooting that injured former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, it was the 13th shot that killed 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. Hockley and Barden said a limit on magazines also could have prevented more deaths during the Sandy Hook shooting. [Think Progress, 7/3/14]