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. 21k

    ... says the guy who will never be in a walmart with some packin' yahoo that always wanted to be a hero.

    July 23, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. charlie avila

    I do really agree with romney. The problem are not the gun laws or the weapons. But the people who don't deserve to have, posses or carry fire arms. People scrutiny should be strict....when people purchase more than one weapon, should be deeply investigated.....

    July 23, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  3. BeverlyNC

    Romney is another Republican tool of the NRA. Of course the ban on assault weapons would have changed the outcome of the disaster in Aurora. NO citizen has the need for any assault or automatic weapon with a clip holding 100 bullets. Those guns should only be available to the military and the police. Gun violence is up and continues to rise. Without guns and mega-clips less people will die needlessly. People do kill people but less would die if assualt-type guns guns were not available to the public. Ban the NRA and proper gun control would happen. Isn't it twisted that Republicans make it more diffiicult for people just to vote but refuse to require proper ID and background checks to buy a military-style weapon like it is a toy? It's shameful.

    July 23, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  4. souptwins

    Romney's right about this one. Guys like this would find a way to get a gun and do the unspeakable regardless of the laws. I don't own a gun and always been very middle of the road on gun control, seeing the logic in both sides and wondering where the best solution lies. I just can't see someone so bent on evil stopping with restrictions.

    July 23, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  5. bibleverse1

    No law would stop what happened in Aurora. Laws are only followed by law abiding citizens. There are some people that dont care what the law says or what is decent or what is good. No law would help those broken people.

    July 23, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  6. FaceTheTruth

    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."
    Oh.. that was BEFORE the NRA donated to his campaign... that is just word-stuff.

    July 23, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  7. NameBenwood

    He mittens the village fool is s member of the nra, he wont do anything to change gun laws,, we all know he cant outsource guns

    July 23, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  8. tonyl

    Romney received a message from the overseas bank accounts of the deposit made by the NRA in his Swiss account immediately after he made this comment.

    July 23, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  9. Mitt Witt

    So what could cause people to be "Distracted From Reality?" I'll tell you.......Maybe not being able to make a living....Maybe not being able to afford College........Maybe not being able to afford Health Care....... You know...The things the GOP care nothing about.

    July 23, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  10. Shardik

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

    So he knows what "won't work" but hasn't a clue what will work? Super helpful.

    July 23, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  11. Leroy

    I guess ol' Mitt doesn't realize the shooter had a 100 round clip and high-powered, semi-automatic guns they were onced banned in the United States. Mitt Romney, you are a DOPE!

    July 23, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  12. Omni

    Noooo Flipper, say it ain't so! You ban assault weapons in one state then claim you're for them while running for President. You liar. WillTard RobMe will do anything that the money tells him to do. Period.

    July 23, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  13. Leroy

    I see that the NRA has a little bitty noose tied around Willard's scrotum......

    July 23, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  14. Mrs Time

    With all due respect. You are full of something Mitt.

    July 23, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  15. mattfried

    "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.
    Of course, Mr. Romney, you believe that every citizen has the right to amass 6000 rounds of ammunition and assault weapons, because citizens need to protect themselves. Of course, we all need that much weaponry, don't we?
    Or, could it be that mr. Romney's belief in successful business means that he believes that the ammunition companies, weapons manufacturers, middlemen, retailers and wholesalers have a basic right to make a profit. Wouldn't regulation cut into these profits? Business comes first and Romney knows how to make a profit.

    July 23, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  16. UallRwrong

    He's right. Lets just say they do some wierd gunlaw deal to get all of the guns.............. PPPPPPPFFFFF!!!! Good luck with that one. The 'Joker' may have bought them legally, but he could have gotten them illegally just as easy and if he were to have gotten away they wouldn't have been able to trace the guns back to him. Taking guns away won't get rid of guns. Any of you believing that need to get your heads examined. You stand a better chance of winning the war on drugs and we all know how that one is turning out...

    July 23, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  17. UallRwrong

    'Weird', 'Gun law'........ 'Type'O's. Sorry....... No edit button,lol.

    July 23, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  18. Republicangrandma

    What can I say? For Romney? If I say the cloud is blue? He is going to say purple. If I say my oranges is yellow? He is going to say blue.

    That's Rmoney! My brother from different parents! LOL

    July 23, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  19. andrew

    I think Romney is dead wrong. I believe banning assault weapons is the right thing to do. I'm going to push my congressmen for a total US ban on automatic weapons. The government will NEVER get my gun and I don't need the NRA to nanny me along and lose my mind because they have gun sellers who make money on selling assault weapons, and who could care less how many people get killed by their use. All they wan't is the dam money.

    July 23, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  20. UallRwrong

    Now they screen all of my posts..... Classic.. Sorry you can't handle losing a debate. Keep up the cowardly, I mean, good work....

    July 23, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  21. Omni

    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."

    I love this part. President Obama hasn't passed any gun laws but Mitt has, I guess republicans are really just racist. Because if they fear Obama's religion, his health care law, his views on abortion and his stance on guns,.. Why would they want to vote for Robme?

    July 23, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  22. Chris

    Agreed with Mr. Romney.

    July 23, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  23. Vincent

    The previous ban on assault rifles was hamstrung before it had even been signed.
    The grandfather claus allowed weapons made prior to the ban to be legal, and there were other loopholes that could be used. So citing this as evidence for the ban not working sounds like a half-truth perpetuated by the NRA.

    While people should be allowed to own firearms for their own safety and for sport, there needs to be a common sense approach to this matter. And semi-automatic , and automatic assault rifles dont really make sense in a civilized society.

    July 23, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  24. Fred

    Insane.

    July 23, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  25. Omni

    As governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a 2004 extension of a ban on assault weaponz, 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."

    July 23, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
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