- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey’s Democrat-controlled Legislature failed Thursday to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto on three bills, preserving the Republican presidential candidate’s flawless record, which he’s touted on the campaign trail.

Democrats have one more opportunity on Jan. 11 before the session expires to push for an override on two of the three bills.

A key measure, on which the Senate has already voted to override the governor’s veto, would have required people seeking to clear their mental health records in order to buy a handgun to first notify law enforcement officials. The vote was postponed.

“Republicans will get another chance to do the right thing,” Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said.

The measure initially passed unanimously in the Legislature before Christie conditionally vetoed it, saying he wanted a more comprehensive approach to reform how the state deals with mental health and guns.

Christie, who has never been overridden in more than 50 attempts, casts himself as a conservative backstop to New Jersey’s liberal Legislature and pointing out he has never had his veto successfully challenged.

On Thursday, the Assembly also failed to override Christie’s veto of a bill aiming to tighten access to firearms for domestic violence offenders. A provision of the bill called for domestic violence offenders to surrender firearms while a restraining order is in effect, or when they are convicted of a crime, among other measures.

Christie argued that state law prohibits domestic violence offenders and those under a restraining order from buying or owning a gun. He also called for expediting the gun application process for domestic violence victims.

In the Senate, lawmakers failed to override the governor’s veto of a measure to permit residents who change their gender to update their birth certificates. Under current law, such a person would have to first undergo sex-reassignment surgery to get an amended birth certificate.

The Senate suspended a vote after falling one short of the necessary 27 votes.

In his veto, Christie said “appropriate safeguards” should accompany changes affecting birth certificates because they “unlock access” to benefits like passports and social services.

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