Romney: New gun laws won't make a difference 'in this type of tragedy'
July 23rd, 2012
08:15 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney: New gun laws won't make a difference 'in this type of tragedy'

(CNN) – Continuing the debate over gun rights after Friday's Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting, Mitt Romney on Monday argued there was no need for new gun laws and stood by legislation he signed as Massachusetts governor banning assault weapons.

"I still believe that the Second Amendment is the right course to preserve and defend and don't believe that new laws are going to make a difference in this type of tragedy," Romney said on CNBC.

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He continued: "There are–were, of course, very stringent laws which existed in Aurora, Colorado. Our challenge is not the laws, our challenge is people who, obviously, are distracted from reality and do unthinkable, unimaginable, inexplicable things."

The shooting on Friday, which left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, ignited fierce debate over the weekend and placed the presidential candidates in the spotlight over their positions on gun rights.

Romney's remarks against new laws don't stray too far from similar comments from the White House this weekend. Speaking aboard Air Force One as the president flew Sunday to meet with families of those killed, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama did not have plans to push for new legislation in light of the Colorado massacre.

"The president's view is that we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law. And that's his focus right now," Carney said, adding it was too early to determine how the issue would play in the election. Meanwhile, some have pointed to the president's 2008 campaign promise to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons.

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a 2004 extension of a ban on assault weapons, at the time saying "These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people."

Also as governor, Romney enacted a statewide "Right to Bear Arms Day," which is held on May 7 to "honor law-abiding citizens and their right to 'use firearms in defense of their families, persons, and property for all lawful purposes, including common defense'," according to his campaign website.

In 2006, ahead of his bid for the 2008 Republican nomination, he became a lifelong member of the NRA.

Asked Monday about the assault weapons ban, Romney said the legislation came as a bipartisan effort from both those who "were for additional gun rights and those that opposed gun rights."

"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," he said. "So if there's common ground, why I'm always willing to have that kind of a conversation."

The two campaigns took a pause this weekend, pulling their attack ads from the air and breaking from the campaign trail to reflect on the shooting.

Monday morning, however, the campaigns largely resumed their activities, as both teams went on the attack through press releases and as the candidates had campaign appearances on their schedules.

Romney said Monday the campaigns were back "under way" but with a different tone.

"Yes. I think we are, but we're starting also with a level of thoughtfulness and seriousness that I think is appropriate in the aftermath of a tragedy of this nature. Obviously, the campaigns are under way," he said. "We're talking about our respective views and at the same time, our hearts are heavy as we think about the funerals that'll be held this week and the families that have been so tragically altered by virtue of the loss of life."

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Eric

    People are crying for more gun control, gun control only takes guns away from law abiding citizens who follow the rules to begin with, just take a look at whos wanting more and more gun control. Mayor bloomberg, the mayor of new york, a liberal infested strict gun control state with MASSIVE crime rate! Take away peoples ability to defend themselves and watch crime skyrocket, chicago is another prime example of crimminal activity alive and well inside a super tight gun control democrat state. Killers will kill, look at what a few mad men with box cutters did on 9/11.

    July 23, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  2. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    He has no guts or tax returns !!@!

    July 23, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  3. missouri mule

    I don't want new laws, only the reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban. this could have mitigated, if not prevented.

    July 23, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. ted

    OK I will say it – I agree with Rmoney on this issue. As the saying goes, if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.

    Now back to normal programming.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    July 23, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  5. ufadoof

    Obama is coming for your guns!!!!!!
    ....Just like he did (not) for the last 3.5 years.

    July 23, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  6. when your nightmares end WILLARD begins

    somewhere in this country at this moment someone is planning another attack on a mass of people. They will get the firearms and the ammo and of course it will all be legal to get it. And it might not happen for months or maybe even a year but it's going to happen no matter if Romney is in office or Obama is in office. And the result will be the same,,,,,let's NOT discuss it or do anything about it. And if Obama is still in office of course the talk on the right will still be that "he's going to take everybody's guns away!" The more things change the more they stay the same.

    July 23, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. enuff

    Sounds like a non-issue. Is he trying to force Obama into saying something so that the extreme right can start screaming about the President trying to take away our guns? All Romney has demonstrated with this issue (once again) is that he was for it before he was against it.

    July 23, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. DaveF

    Stupid Romney is at it again – If this SICKO couldn't buy an AR-15 or 100 round drum magazine or 6,000 rounds of ammo, etc. there may have been less dead and injured. I used to do alot of skeet (and loaded my own shotgfun shells)and target shooting (no hunting. ) When I returned from Nam I sold my guns a 357 revolver, a 22 target pistol and a 12 ga shotgun. Besides hunters would never go hunting with an assult weapeon. (yes I am a lousy speller) Hunters are smart people and would never hunt with an assualt weapeon as they are out for the hunt and food. The only idiot is the NRA and I hope someone pryed Heston's gun out of cold, dead hand. I pray that no one has to go thru the sadness of losing a loved one to a WACKO like he latest one. WISE UP NRA and enact some sane laws.

    July 23, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  9. wade

    Of course he is right! Look at Norway and the massacre that happened there. Even worse than here,. Norway has some of the strictest gun control laws around.

    July 23, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  10. ge

    yes and that right is to defend against people like romney and the1%–that took the worlds manufacturing giant of the world buy shipping american jobs,overseas for greed,its a shame

    July 23, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. James

    A unscientific poll taken in my home state of Massachusetts, which has arguably the toughest gun laws in the country and is run by Liberals, asked if tougher gun laws were needed. 85% said no.

    July 23, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. 22X Richer

    Romney is correct. No new federal laws are needed. Let the states decide how they want to handle gun laws in the individual states. We have enough overbearing federal laws which could be trimmed by 50% and we'd still have too many.

    July 23, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  13. Sharp

    I do agree with Romney on this one. More attention needs to be paid to unstable people who get guns. A school teacher is required to report suspected child abuse. Why shouldn't a gun shop owner or shooting range operator be required to report a possible violent & unstable gun owner? I know that there is possibility for abuse but often after these rampages someone comes forward & says that they had noticed this person was out of control & gun obsessed. It's time for the 2nd Amendment advocates to get practical if we are to save Gun Rights for all of society.

    July 23, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. Mr. Moderate

    Am I the only one who realized that the presidential candiadate who had expanded gun rights is Pres. Obama, while the one who has signed legislation restricting gun rights is Romney?

    July 23, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. John

    that makes about as much as sense as sunblock wont keep you getting burned.

    July 23, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  16. eqgold

    What a load of crap. We have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, including the right to got to a movie and not get shot by heavily armed nuts. That the guy was a nut is part of it, that he and unlimited numbers of other nuts can get so heavily armed so easily is a big, big problem. There are really no effective gun laws in this country, they are a joke. All this is because the gun nuts want to protect their dangerous hobby.

    July 23, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. TAK

    Romney will say anything to get elected. Just look at his actions while Governor of Massachusetts and tell me that he believes in the Second Amendment. Obama, on the other hand, had a chance to enact serious gun control legistlation during his first two years when the Dems controlled both the House and the Senate, but he shot down every proposal Hilary Clinton and Charles Schumer came up with.

    July 23, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  18. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    Hey Mitt. Just wait until the "Real Class Warfare" starts. Everyone posting here will be on the same side. The POOR side. Then I bet you'll wish there were less guns.

    July 23, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  19. pete

    Romney will take our guns from us if there is a bi-partisan effort?

    July 23, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  20. D. Darko

    The support of no gun control laws is the same as support for domestic terrorism. Looks like Mitt Romney supports DOMESTIC TERRORISM.

    July 23, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  21. DRAKE MALLARD

    Romney: Obama mandated contraception so he might take your guns too

    Romney says Obama will erode the rights of gun owners in speech to NRA

    We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners," Romney told thousands of NRA members in St. Louis for their annual convention. "President Obama has not. I will."

    Running for the Senate in 1994, Romney said: "I don't line up with the NRA." A decade later he became a lifetime NRA member

    July 23, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  22. OK Mitt

    What will make a difference? Let me guess....."Tax cuts for the rich to create jobs in India and China!" Same old GOP song and dance.

    July 23, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  23. Mike

    How Romney can say that no new gun laws are needed defies common sense. An effective ban on assault weapons may well have cut the death/injury toll in Aurora.

    Other than for criminal activity, assault weapons serve no purpose among the civilian population.

    July 23, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  24. FrankinSD

    The empty suit is just plain wrong about this. Depriving private citizens of semi-automatic weapons and high capacity clips would make a difference in precisely this kind of tragedy. And the real tragedy is that none of our political leaders are willing to take up the challenge.

    July 23, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  25. Flip

    Mitt Romney, king of the flip-flop and all things to all people–at the same time–and flies whichever way the wind blows and lies, lies, lies about anything and everything. Whatever it takes to get your vote. Sucker.

    July 23, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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