Greenwich demonstration planned for Chris Christie visit

Seen here stumping for Linda McMahon in 2012, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's stance on gun law reform has spurred a planned demonstration of his Monday trip to Greenwich for gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley. — Ken Borsuk photo

Seen here stumping for Linda McMahon in 2012, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s stance on gun law reform has spurred a planned demonstration of his Monday trip to Greenwich for gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley. — Ken Borsuk photo

When he comes to Greenwich on Monday for a fund raising trip, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could well find a not so welcome wagon waiting for him.

Mr. Christie, the head of the national Republican Governors Association and a possible 2016 presidential candidate, will be appearing at a private fund-raiser on Monday, July 21 for Tom Foley, the Greenwich Republican seeking to challenge Gov. Dannel Malloy in November. Both Mr. Christie and Mr. Foley have been criticized by gun law reform advocates for their positions on the issue and the CT Against Gun Violence Group is planning what it calls a “peaceful demonstration” to greet Mr. Christie as he heads toward the exclusive Greenwich neighborhood of Belie Haven.

According to demonstration organizers, the gathering will take place at the intersection of Shore Road and Field Point Road with people congregating on the sidewalk along Shore Road leading away from the guard house at the entrance to Belle Haven. People are already being warned not to enter Belle Haven, which is private property. The Greenwich Police Department has been made aware of the planned demonstration and worked with organizers in determining how it would be set up.

People interested in participating are being urged to create their own signs, but signs will also be prepared. The Twitter hashtag #CTsaysNOFoleyChristie is also being used to spread the word. Those who want to attend are being told to arrive by 6 p.m. on Monday evening. Organizers are stressing that they want the demonstration to be a respectful one.

The CT Against Gun Violence Group is a coalition of gun law reform advocates from around the state, including the Greenwich Council Against Gun Violence, which has been calling for elimination of high capacity magazines and having expanded background checks to close loopholes. The group is also an open supporter of Mr. Malloy, who pushed forward bipartisan gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that left 27 dead, including 20 children, in December 2012. Those laws are considered the second toughest in the nation behind New York so this is a political event as well for the group as it said in a press release that this demonstration is also meant to advocate for Mr. Malloy’s reelection.

“Foley has allied himself to Gov. Chris Christie who recently vetoed a bill that would have limited high capacity magazines to no more than ten rounds,” a CT Against Gun Violence Group press release stated. “Christie also refused to meet with Newtown families who had asked to do so before his veto of the measure. Foley is no friend of common-sense gun laws, having stated. ‘If I’m governor, any further attempts and restrictions on law-abiding gun owners by our legislature will stop at the governor’s office.’ And ‘Had I been governor, the outcome in Connecticut would have been different.’”

Greenwich Selectman Drew Marzullo, a Democrat who helped push successful efforts led by the Greenwich Council Against Gun Violence to get his Republican colleagues to sign onto the Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, has voiced his support for the demonstration.

“High capacity ammunition magazines were designed as weapons of war,” Mr. Marzullo, who is an EMT, told the Post. “The governor of New Jersey’s veto last week simply put was wrong. The only logical explanation for his decision not to reduce the size of a ‘magazine’ must have been rooted in pure politics. The parents of the 20 young students who were slaughtered in bright daylight on Dec. 14 should have been afforded the opportunity to meet and talk with Gov. Christie. I don’t care one iota if his schedule didn’t permit it. I also think it is important to point out that Ambassador Foley, if elected Governor in November, has vowed to repeal Connecticut gun legislation. Why would anyone Republican or Democrat campaign on weakening a gun law just 18 months after a mass murder involving six-year-olds?”

Mr. Foley is running a neck and neck race in a potential rematch with Mr. Malloy, who narrowly defeated him in 2010. Mr. Foley must first face State Sen. John McKinney in a primary race next month but he is considered to be the heavy favorite in that matchup. Mr. Foley has the endorsement of the state Republican party and the presence of a big time name like Mr. Christie signals the national party’s clear support as well.

This is not the first time Mr. Christie has come to Connecticut to try and boost the fortunes of a local candidate. In 2014 he made an appearance for Senate candidate Linda McMahon but there could also be an eye beyond this coming November. Mr. Foley, a former ambassador under President George W. Bush, is a big Republican money man within the party, having been a major financial booster of both President Bush and 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Mr. Christie is viewed by many as a likely candidate in 2016 as he seeks to put behind him recent criticism of heavy handed tactics from his administration and ongoing investigations over the potential role officials in his office took over closing a lane of traffic on the George Washington Bridge leading into Ft. Lee, N.J.

Polling has shown Mr. Christie with good numbers in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the two critical states for launching a presidential campaign and support from people like Mr. Foley could prove to be very important in a future run for the governor.

The Post will have full coverage of the demonstration in its July 24 edition.

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