After a gunman opened fire and killed two people during a live television interview in Roanoke, Virginia on Wednesday, several politicians renewed calls for stricter gun control legislation. But Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is advocating against increasing gun laws, saying the country should focus instead on mental health issues.
"The fact is that we need to have more information about people's mental health background," Christie said in an interview with "CBS This Morning" early Thursday. "But we don't need new laws in this country to be able to do that. We have laws that exist now. We just need to enforce the ones we do."
In New Jersey, which has one of the lowest rates of gun deaths in the country, Christie signed into law several measures to restrict firearms during his tenure. Christie passed legislation that included increasing penalties for unlawful possession, banning anyone on the terrorism watch list from buying a gun, and requiring the state to submit mental health data to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
But rather than attribute New Jersey's low number of gun-related deaths to the restrictions, Christie credited his success to enforcement and community policing initiatives.
"All you hear now is let's have new laws, new laws, when we don't enforce the laws we have," Christie said. "That's for members of Congress to feel useful. Quite frankly, that's not what we need to do."
On the national stage, like many of the GOP candidates, Christie has been overshadowed by Donald Trump, who continues to lead the field. Asked about his presidential campaign and a new Quinnipiac poll showing him at just four percent, Christie was dismissive.
"These polls don't mean anything right now," he said. "What matters is what matters to the American people."
The New Jersey Republican also seemed weary of questions on the topic of Trump.
"I can only speak for myself. It's my job to introduce myself, my ideas, my programs, my vision of leadership for the American people," Christie said. "It's not my business to be sitting here, even though here we are sitting here this morning for three or four minutes already and all we're doing is asking about Donald Trump. I'm not going to engage in that. There's no purpose to it."
When asked if he would ever kick a reporter out of a news conference, in a reference to Trump's recent testy exchange with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, Christie responded: "I never have."
But, the New Jersey governor added, "if the question is inappropriate or incorrect, I correct them."
Christie slammed Trump's immigration plan, expressing skepticism for its viability.
"President Pena Nieto in Mexico is not paying for a wall, I don't care who asks him." Christie said. "We need to do things that actually work."
The New Jersey governor instead presented an alternative plan that would build a fence along urban areas on the U.S-Mexico border, embed FBI agents with border patrol officials, increase the use of drones and cameras, and penalize U.S. employers for hiring an illegal labor force.