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. David

    Romney will say anything he thinks people want to hear. He's just a super rich guy with the new hobby of running for President.

    July 24, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  2. Littlelilly

    That's not what he said when he was supporting the Brady Bill

    Go figure

    July 24, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  3. Jdw

    Does this mean Romney would support people buying shoulder mounted rocket launchers?

    July 24, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  4. mm

    Nor would Romney care if regular people got hurt..

    July 24, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  5. SugarKube

    Absolutely. Leftys whine about guns and refuse to enforce th hundreds of gun laws already on the books.

    July 24, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  6. exrepublican

    It is all hopeless! All semi automatics would have to be confiscated, all cars would have to be searched. If you call the police to report someone who has "changed" and is acting weird, they will tell you, they can't do anything until he commits a crime. We have to come to the reality that this type of tragedy will continue to happen. This issue is no different than DWI deaths. We see people get killed by the thousands and one week later when the news cycle moves on to the next story we do the easy thing and forget. The officials we have elected are the cowards (except Bloomberg) they will loose votes if they take away your guns and they will never take away booze. So, just like our climate get used to it. All because of inaction from our screwed up government that WE elected. It is a fact that conservatives cannot deny (because they are always crying about it) that liberals are against the sale and ownership of semi automatics guns that can hold more than 2 bullets (which is all that's needed to shoot your prized deer). So at least 100 years from now our ancestors can look back and say, "well at least some of them had brains".

    July 24, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  7. Name

    It also helps to know that the NRA gives millions of dollars to political campaigns on both partys so we will never see a bill that will actually fix this issue.

    July 24, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  8. hokiethug

    ....Because we ALL need access to something that propels a piece of lead 680 miles per hour.

    July 24, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  9. NotRepublican

    "Yes, I'm all for being against the things we should all be against", candidate Romney was quoted as saying. He went on to say, "Why just the other day I was strongly in favor of defeating the 'we are all Americans' initiative led by the president. It just didn't seem very American to me."

    July 24, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  10. Jim

    Explain it to me Lucy! The guy legally buys an ASSAULT RIFLE and a HUNDRED ROUND MAGAZINE, and Romney says "No New Laws would have prevented this MASSACRE?
    Seriously? You want to lead the free world with that logic?

    July 24, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  11. Republicans

    I am Mitt Romney and i approved this shooting? Really Mitt? Your sad....

    July 24, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  12. Pat

    Did gun control stop the Norway massacre? Did gun control stop a kid in Germany from walking into a school and massacring his fellow students? I mean Europe has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. How about we address the real problem of MENTAL ILLNESS in America and start committing these whack jobs before they hurt people.

    July 24, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  13. Terry - Indiana

    I agree with Mr. Romney, new gun laws will not make a difference.

    July 24, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  14. joseph

    Even if it was a person who pulled the trigger the fact remains that it was a person holding the gun who fired the shot. a gun is not a toy like a doll to carry around everywhere you go. I can understand some situations for safety reasons to carry a gun say for example if you are running in a barring path or your home or if you are a gun collector and keep it in your home. Yes I believe in stricter gun laws but not in the situation that happened because according to reports the guy seemed sane but I am talking about situations where you are in a ball game and then all of a sudden you get into a confrontation than to the other person it seems like self defense instead of putting up their fist the guy pulls out a gun and shoots that person. Not everyone is responsible which is why there are certain regulations when it comes to say for example having not having a strip club across the street from a school.

    July 24, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  15. Jules

    If congress had renewed the automatic weapons ban and/or put a limit on the number of bullets on a clip that can be sold, it could have made a difference in the number of people shot. The only reason that more weren't killed and hurt was because the clip jammed. Everyone says criminals can get them anyway. Well, this guy had no criminal weapon – not being able to go and outright buy the weapon he bought and the size clips he bought could have made a difference. I come from a family of hunters and they will all tell you, they don't need automatic weapons.

    July 24, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  16. EffortPA

    People who own guns should be required to have insurance for them. Much the same way we are all required to have insurance for our cars. When a tragedy like this happens, the insurance companies would have to compensate the victims. This means that the insurance companies would have to determine the risk for each gun being insured, the same way they do it now for cars. If somebody has had prior arrests or convictions, the insurance companies would either deny them the insurance or the premiums would be very high, the same as what happens now when somebody wants to insure a car and has had prior accidents or DWIs. This would undoubtedly reduce the number of guns available. I personally would love to have multiple cars and trucks, but it is the monthly insurance premium that prevents me from doing that. If somebody wants to buy a gun or ammo, they would first have to show proof of insurance.

    July 24, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  17. Squigman

    No they won't. They really won't make a difference, if no one explores possibilities and ideas that always find their birth place inside the mindset of those saying the word WON'T. For every problem there's solution. If no solution is evident, then there's compromise. But the words won't and can't seem to always get in the way of progress.

    July 24, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  18. Mr. Moderate

    Romney should know, he is the ONLY presidential candidate who has signed legislation restricting gun rights.

    July 24, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  19. macddm

    I am gun owner and I want common sense gun control.

    For every 100,000 people the U.S. has 10 gun deaths.. The U.K. which has strong gun control has .46 gun deaths per 100k, people. Are we just more homicidal than that other people or could the fact that for every 100 people there are 88 guns be a factor. The UK has 6 guns for every 100k people. We have the highest per capita rate of guns of any country, period. I'm a gun owner, but I'm for common sense gun laws. Home protection and hunting are great.. but I want laws to make semi automatic Assalt weapons like AR-15s and AK-47s unavailable like they are in other industrialized and safer nations..

    July 24, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  20. Arun

    Both the prez and Mitt are wrong!! Strickter laws would help in situations like this. Yeah, theis nut would have gotten guns someplace else, but it would have been much harder for him to do it. Instead of what he had, the strickter laws would have prevented hime from obtaining less guns. To me this would have been better than what he had.

    July 24, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  21. Anonymous

    I defended my country in the Marines and know the only countries where it's citizens can not have guns are not FREE countries. Take away the right for law abiding people to own guns and the only people that will own guns will be the criminals.

    Our founding fathers new how important the second amendment was that is why they created it.

    We must always have he right to defend ourselves, family and country against any enemy foreign or domestic.

    Semper fi

    July 24, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  22. Massachusetts is the Best

    We regulate OTC allergy medicine more than guns and ammo in this country. That is insane.

    July 24, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  23. Confedkilla

    OK Mitt Romney. Go ahead and explain this to each and every victim's families. Tell them "it does not make a difference".

    Lobbying is a whole new game. It's amazing how all these businesses and corporations have become more than just "mere legal persons". It's obvious that any new laws or reform are going to be butchered or stopped because the NRA has too more dollar votes in lobbying than actual people I see.

    July 24, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  24. Ralph

    I believe a gun can be as dangerous as a car. You have to display knowledge and competence to get a license to drive a car. I think something similar should be instated to have and carry firearms. There are still incompetent people behind the wheel, but not as many as there would be if no law existed. The same would be true for guns, but perhaps there would be fewer than we currently have, and our world would be a safer place than it currently is.

    July 24, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  25. Wynter

    Romney wants to talk about anything other than the BAIN problems that haunt him.

    July 24, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
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