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. Jeettu

    Romney is totally a phony. He will say and do anything to get elected. While he supported assault weapon ban for MA, he will not let that be the rule for al of USA. He enacted the healthcare reform law for MA, but says it is not good for USA. He changes his statements, plans, and ideas as it he thinks people like to hear. He was a moderate but became. a conservative to win the primaries. Now, he does not know where he stands. How can we trust him with the Presidency of USA? He has no plans to create jobs or provide healthcare to people except to make himself and his rich friends richer. We don't want him in the White House. In addiiton, we do not want his republicans friends and members of Congress should be sent home as they have wasted our money, resources and brought us troubles all the time. We cannot go back to their failed policies and must find new ways in the future. Let us get hold of our values and country in November by voting democrats in offices all the way.

    July 23, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  2. john

    Sure, but less guns will definitely lower the chance of such horrible accidents to happen.

    July 23, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  3. 0RacKL

    New laws won't help? Spoken like a true supporter of the NRA. In other words, let's do nothing - except wait for the next mass murder.

    July 23, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  4. Aaron

    Reports say that this guy Holmes bought 15K dollars worth of weapons. How is it that someone buys that many weapons and no alarms get set off to investigate. This is a major failing of government. I do believe in the 2nd amendment but I also believe there should be strict regulation of firearms as well. Not just anyone off the street should be able to pick one up without going through proper background checks.

    July 23, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  5. Dave Jaipersaud

    What! I guess if we had a ban on sub machine guns that can fire 100 rounds in 30 seconds it wouldn't make a difference because the shooter would have pulled one out of his ass. Romney is such an idiot. I can't believe over 44% of Americans think he is fit to be President. 45%! that is almost 140 million people. No wonder he wants to cut education even more. I guess he figure 45% of stupid Americans in not enough. Maybe if we increase the stupidity level in America we can be proud of being the most stupid country in the world. Maybe then we will be able to out compete China, India, Brazil, Canada etc in innovation ant technology. What an idiot.

    July 23, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  6. Georgie

    No new gun laws needed!!?? Translation: As usual, ...no real solutions, ...no real ideas, ...just more stupidity from Romney!

    July 23, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  7. AK-steve

    Guns don't kill people. People kill people. It just so happens that this particular assault rifle allowed this person to kill a lot of people. SO glad the NRA fought for the right to have assault guns.

    I think the same GOP argument goes for pollution. Pollution doesn't kill you, it kills the air and water. So if you diem it's not from the pollution, is was the air and waters fault.

    July 23, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  8. harvey5

    Mitt Romney is showing his lack of any analytical ability with this comment. This idiot in Colorado purchased an automatic rifle within the law at a sporting goods store and ammunition within the law from the Internet. It is certainly likely this murderer would not have been capable of otherwise obtaining the weapon and ammunition had it not been so easily and really available. Mitt, your a mental moron.

    July 23, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He purchaced the weapons legally. The question is about the ammo and body armor. It sounds like you don't have to worry about that. It does make you wonder.

    July 23, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  10. Anthony A

    In a story where it is a fact that many many more people would have died if the attackers Assault Rifle didn't jam, how could anyone possibly defend keeping Assault Rifles legal?

    His AR clip held 100 bullets, he could have killed 50 people more. The Colorado story was lucky, we should not depend on luck. A simple ban on AR's could easily have prevented luck from ever being a factor in this story.

    I'm picturing someone defending Anthrax or Nuclear Weapons as things vital for defense for the average person.

    July 23, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  11. pjoe

    Romney is right. We have libraries full of laws. We had laws against what the guy did. One more new law will not change anything. Laws only restrict law abiders. They do not stop the lawless.

    July 23, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  12. ObamaCares

    Didn't take him long to pander to the NRA.

    July 23, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  13. SdS

    Romney Not worry God wil give you victory!

    July 23, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  14. Caldude

    Chicago banned guns in public. This year there has been over 1,300 gun related violent crimes so far this year.
    NY city has the fourth toughest gun laws in the country. They have over 4,000 gun related crimes so far this year.

    So how the gun law working out?

    July 23, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  15. SdS

    God wants from you something if you can do it, write in a gun if you have the name of your wife and daughter or sons.

    July 23, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  16. Philippe Paul

    Bullet Control
    1) All bullets should make a loud noise to alert people that a gun has been fired.
    2) You and I can own the exact same gun but have different bullet permits. Your permit lets you buy real bullets while my permit only allows me to buy rubber bullets.
    3) A certain type of bullet that can allow an individual to react to a potential assailant with speed by using a gun that will deliver a blow that is not lethal. This bullet could be a combination of
    rubber bullet and (embedded) tranquilizer dart.
    If all the citizens are allowed to carry such a gun, they would not cause a great treat to each other. However, when a crazed killer attacks an unarmed crowd, everyone in the crowd could shoot back at him. In such a situation the impact of hundreds of people shooting at the same target could be lethal. In short, we can eliminate soft targets.
    This approach is derived from the introduction of red dye in money stolen from banks. That practice has diminished the danger that bank employees face by delaying a defensive action. The effectiveness of such a bullet is not immediate but it is certain. Citizens will no longer be completely unharmed.
    99% of gun owners cannot make their own bullets.

    July 23, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  17. keyser

    That's it. He can kiss my vote goodby.

    July 23, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  18. Republicans

    nd owns Romney....

    July 23, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  19. Republicans

    The NRA owns Romney.

    July 23, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  20. whta

    Glad to hear this from Mitt! And Obama, hope he keeps his word no more gun laws!!!!

    July 23, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  21. sidney soffer

    It becomes difficult to assess what Romney means by stringent gun laws. If one can readily purchase an assault
    rifle that can fire 100 rounds from a clip; I must remain baffled by the use of the word stringent.

    July 24, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  22. Janet

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

    That pretty much sums up his stance and who he caters to.

    July 24, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  23. Larry J

    Obama won't take on guns because he's afraid to lose votes. Romey already has his gun voters.

    July 24, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  24. Nate

    So he stood by his old decision to ban assault riffles, yet he thinks such laws are needless?

    July 24, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  25. sidney soffer

    it becomes difficult to assess what Romney means by stringent gun laws? If one can legally purchase an assault
    weapon that can fire 100 rounds from a clip; I must remain baffled by the use of the word stringent

    July 24, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
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