Mitt Romney on Monday dismissed calls for more stringent restrictions on the Internet sale of ammunition and semi-assault weapons in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., shooting tragedy, arguing that it is a time to come together and help communities in need.
“Well, I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment and I also believe that this is — with emotions so high right now, this is really not a time to be talking about the politics associated with what happened in Aurora,” Romney said in an interview with Larry Kudlow on CNBC’s “The Kuldow Report.” CNBC released in advance a transcript of the interview, which is scheduled to air Monday evening.
“This is really a time, I think, for people to reach out to others in their community that need help or a comforting hand. Let’s do that for now and then we can get on to policy down the road,” Romney said.
But Romney reiterated where he stands on gun control, maintaining that new laws governing the sale of firearms wouldn’t have prevented such a tragedy.
“Our challenge is not the laws, our challenge is people who, obviously, are distracted from reality and do unthinkable, unimaginable, inexplicable things,” he said.
But he hasn’t always felt that way: The former Massachusetts governor once supported new gun-control laws, and signed into law a permanent assault weapons ban in 2004.
“I believe the people should have the right to bear arms, but I don’t believe that we have to have assault weapons as part of our personal arsenal,” he said at the time.
Romney demurred when asked whether he was still satisfied with the law. He said that such a course of action was acceptable if it carried bipartisan support.
“Where there are opportunities for people of reasonable minds to come together and find common ground, that’s the kind of legislation I like,” Romney said. “The idea of one party jamming through something over the objection of the other tends to divide the nation, not make us a more safe and prosperous place. So if there’s common ground, why I’m always willing to have that kind of a conversation.”
James Holmes, the alleged gunman, ordered 3,000 rounds of handgun ammunition, 3,000 rounds for an assault rifle, 350 shotgun shells, bulletproof vests and a high-capacity ammo magazine through online sites in four months prior to the shooting, according to the New York Times.
Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at email@example.com.