POLITICS

Chris Christie Denies That Gun Control Motivated Him To Enter Politics

The GOP presidential candidate denied a 1993 statement in which he said exactly that.

Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday denied that the issue of gun control motivated him to run for the New Jersey state Senate two decades ago, despite the fact that he said so at the time.

In 1993, Christie, then 31, attempted unsuccessfully to unseat John Dorsey (R), the state Senate majority leader, after the New Jersey GOP attempted to repeal the state's semi-automatic weapons ban.

"The issue which has energized me to get into this race is the recent attempt by certain Republican legislators to repeal New Jersey's ban on assault weapons,' Christie said in an April 14, 1993, statement, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger. ''In today's society, no one needs a semi-automatic assault weapon."

But when asked by Fox News' Brett Baier on Tuesday whether it was true that gun control -- something no Republican presidential hopeful wants to be associated with -- "inspired" him to enter politics, Christie said it was not.

"No, that's not true. No," the governor said.

When Baier held up the text of the 1993 Star-Ledger article that included his statement, Christie brushed it off, claiming a hazy memory.

"I don't remember saying that. So, we'll see," he said, adding, "That's ... 22 years ago? I don't remember. I could've. It doesn't sound like me."

When Baier asked whether that meant the Star-Ledger had gotten it wrong, Christie responded with some characteristic sarcasm.

"I know it's never been before," he said. "No newspaper's ever been wrong before."

After losing the Senate race, Christie made the semi-automatic weapons ban an issue when he ran for the state General Assembly against a Republican opponent.

While the governor may not remember that the ban compelled him to run for office, he does seem to remember that he once supported it. In a 2014 interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Christie defended his reversal on the issue by arguing it was human nature to have a change in opinion. 

"I think it's a lot more complicated than I thought it was at 31 years old, and I've learned a lot in the last 21 years. So yeah, a long time ago," Christie said. "By the way, I've changed a lot of my positions over time. Here's the thing, if you're a thinking, breathing human being, and life experience is something you take in, and you never change your mind? Then you're stubborn."

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Chris Christie