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Published: Wednesday, 1/9/2013

NJ Gov. Christie says he's willing to discuss tougher gun laws

Says policymakers must also address mental health issues

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address at the Statehouse, Tuesday in Trenton. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address at the Statehouse, Tuesday in Trenton.

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said today that he's willing to have a conversation about stricter gun laws, but says policymakers also must address the mental health system, improve access to drug treatment and look at the impact of violent video games.

Christie made the comments on NBC's “Today” show, one of five national television appearances he was making early today, one day after his annual State of the State address.

“If all we talk about is just controlling guns we're not doing enough,” he said on “CBS This Morning. “We need to talk about mental illness ... and substance abuse.”

The Republican is also on the cover of this week's edition of Time magazine.

Christie, who is seeking re-election this year, has had a high profile in the political world for a few years, but it's risen more since Superstorm Sandy crashed into New Jersey last October.

The blunt speaker made waves last week when he held a news conference to bash John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the U.S. House, for delaying a vote on aid for Sandy recovery. Days after the stinging criticism, Boehner held a vote for one piece — nearly $10 billion for the national flood insurance program. That was adopted, and Boehner says a vote for more than $50 billion more will come next week.

Christie's speech, along with his praise last year for President Barack Obama's handling of the storm, has cast him as someone willing to criticize his own party.

He said on the TV shows that he would continue to do so if he thinks Republicans are putting politics above the Sandy recovery.

“We've lost two national elections in a row,” he said on NBC. “We need to be thinking about doing something different.”

Christie, who chose not to run for president last year, said — as he previously has — that he would be “more prepared” in 2016 but that he has not decided whether to run.

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