Senate Leader Aims to Lead First Christie Veto Override Vote

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) -

State police could force lawmakers to return to Trenton if any skip a planned vote on overriding Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a bill about prospective gun-buyers’ mental health records, Senate President Steve Sweeney said Monday.

Sweeney announced plans to hold a second override vote Oct. 22 on a measure that mandates law enforcement agencies be notified when a potential gun-buyer seeks to expunge mental health records.

The Senate will also take the procedural step of placing the Senate “under the call of the house,” which means no senator would be able to abstain or skip the vote, Sweeney said.

“Everyone is going to vote on this,” he said. “No one is going to hide.”

He added: “Would you want to be one of the senators that had the state police come and get you? I don’t think so.”

Christie said he was “not the least bit worried” that his veto will be overridden.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. said that Sweeney was only interested in grabbing headlines. Kean added that he is working on a “solution” that combines the governor’s suggestions with those in the bill.

“This isn’t just about guns, this is about public safety,” Kean said.

The issue stretches back to a bill that passed the Legislature unanimously earlier this year.

It’s one that the court system recommended to lawmakers, Sweeney and others say, but Christie issued a conditional veto arguing the bill would confuse a cumbersome area of law. Instead, he called for implementing a plan that includes possible involuntary commitment of those who could be considered dangerous if their illness goes untreated.

An override attempt in September came close to succeeding but was postponed when it became clear Sweeney did not have the votes.

The Democrat-controlled Legislature has tried 52 times to override Christie, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, but has never succeeded because Republicans have not bucked the governor.