Gov. Christie backs gun study commission

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he is backing the recommendations of a firearms study commission he created that calls for uniform criteria in the gun application process, a clarification of the "justifiable need" requirement to get a permit and other tweaks to the system.

Christie created the New Jersey Firearm Purchase and Permitting Study Commission to review what he calls the state's strict gun control laws.

The plan, unveiled Monday in a 25-page report, calls for the state attorney general to have police departments establish uniform criteria for processing gun applications in New Jersey and clarifying the legal requirement for residents to show "justifiable need" to get a permit.

The report also found that while gun owners are required to go directly from point to point while transporting guns in the state except for "reasonably necessary" deviations, there is no guidance on what that means. The report cites such examples as picking up or dropping off passengers or using the restroom.

Christie, whose Republican presidential campaign is picking up momentum in the early voting state of New Hampshire, says New Jersey's strict gun laws resulted in bad regulations.

"New Jersey's extraordinarily strict and expansive gun control laws and regulations have given rise to rules and restrictions that are complicated and unfair to law abiding New Jerseyans," Christie said in a statement.

The panel was created after Berlin resident Carol Bowne, whose firearm permit application was delayed beyond the statutory limit, was stabbed to death by an ex-boyfriend who later killed himself.

Christie created the panel by executive order in June before launching his presidential campaign, and he called for a report within 90 days.

The recommendations do not call for legislation, which would have to move through a Democrat-controlled Legislature before reaching Christie's desk. Instead, the report lays out administrative changes that could be made.

It's unclear when the Christie administration may act on the report's recommendations. Christie said he would work with the attorney general to put the changes into effect "as quickly as possible."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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