Chris Christie answers questions in Ames

Chris Christie spoke at Brick City Grill in Ames, Iowa. Christie’s town hall consisted of a short speech detailing his experiences with terrorism and 9/11. He then answered questions from the crowd.

Shannon Mccarty

2016 Presidential candidate Chris Christie answered questions on hot-button issues in Ames this weekend.

The New Jersey governor spent the majority of his time taking questions from the crowd at his town hall meeting at Brick City Grill on Saturday morning.

Christie had a long list of complaints against President Obama, saying he wasn’t taking ISIS seriously, as well as being responsible for the U.S. sailors who were detained by the Iranian naval forces.

“If we had a president who was respected around the world, we wouldn’t have these folks taken in the first place,” Christie said.

It is important to note that the U.S. sailors had steered into Iranian waters because of what Defense Secretary Ash Carter said was a navigation error.

The sailors and boats were returned unharmed.

Christie shared with attendees his experience on the day of the 9/11 attacks. His wife, Mary Pat, was working in New York City the day of the attacks, and Christie had sat idle for hours wondering if his wife was alive.

“We’re forgetting about what the cost of terrorism really is,” Christie said. “You can guarantee I will never forget the cost.”

Citing his time as New Jersey’s attorney general, when he claims to have prosecuted terrorists, Christie said the key is to catch terrorists before they attack.

“None of [the other candidates] have that experience,” Christie said. “None of them will be ready on day one.”

Another part of Christie’s plan to fight terrorism is to rebuild the military. Christie said the United States has the smallest active army since 1940 and the smallest navy since WWI.

When Christie was asked about the high amount of incarceration rates through the nation he pointed to the success of his state New Jersey.

Christie announced in his Condition of the State speech last week that New Jersey would be closing a state prison and remodeling it into a drug treatment facility for prison inmates with drug addiction.

“When we release them from prison, they’ll actually have a chance and the tools necessary to deal with their disease and be a productive member of society again,” Christie said.

Christie said there should always be a prison cell for dealers and those who use violence in a drug trade, but the people who are addicts have a disease that needs to be dealt with.

The governor was asked about how he would attempt to unify the country, when he himself has used divisive language.

Christie has called President Obama a “feckless weakling” and a “petulant child.”

“I don’t think you bring people together by sugarcoating things,” Christie said. “You can count on the fact I wouldn’t change my language.”

Christie also added he has successfully worked on both sides of the aisle while being governor of New Jersey.

Christie said he did not stand with a majority of Americans and gun owners in requiring background checks for every gun sale.

“There’s a lot of gun sales that shouldn’t have to require background checks,” Christie said. “Family members to family members — I don’t understand why those people need a background check.”

Obama’s recent executive orders would not affect private gun sales, but they would require gun shows and Internet sites to perform background checks.

“Criminals don’t go through background checks,” Christie said. “We need to enforce the laws we have much more strictly than we do, without any new laws.”

Christie also said cities with some of the strictest gun laws have the most violence, but the National Journal released research in August 2015 showing the states with stricter gun laws show lower rates of gun-related deaths.

It is important to note that gun-related deaths include homicides, suicides, accidental gun deaths and legal intervention involving firearms.

Christie spent the entire weekend in Iowa, getting in as much face time as possible before the Iowa Caucus on Feb. 1.