By David Jones
NEWARK N.J. (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Wednesday vetoed a bill approved by the state legislature that would have reduced the legal size of ammunition magazines from 15 to 10 bullets, saying it would do nothing to end mass shootings.
Christie, in sending the measure back to legislators, instead proposed new rules boosting access to mental health services and allowing the mentally ill to be involuntarily committed if they were at risk of rapid deterioration.
"It simply defies common sense to believe that imposing a new and entirely arbitrary number of bullets that can be lawfully loaded into a firearm will somehow eradicate, or even reduce, future instances of mass violence,” Christie said in his message to legislators.
"Nor is it sufficient to claim that a 10-round capacity might spare an 11th victim," Christie said
Gun control advocates blasted the veto and accused the governor of allowing his presidential ambitions to guide his decision making. The governor is considered a likely candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016.
“At the end of the day it was a cowardly decision that lacks leadership,” Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, a Democrat and the lead sponsor of the legislation, said in a written statement. “In fact, this is political expediency at its worst, considering the governor is headed out to campaign in Iowa in a few weeks.”
He noted that the veto came soon after families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting rampage came to the state capitol in Trenton and presented thousands of signatures in a petition to support the gun control measure.
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Ken Wills)