Romney Says New Gun Laws Aren’t Answer to Colorado Shooting

Wednesday, 25 Jul 2012 11:05 PM

 

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the U.S. doesn’t need new gun restrictions in the wake of a mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado last week.

“We can sometimes hope that just changing a law will make all bad things go away. It won’t,” Romney told NBC News in London, where he is beginning an overseas trip that also will take him to Israel and Poland. “Changing the heart of the American people may well be what’s essential to improve the lots of the American people.”

James Holmes, a 24-year-old graduate student, is being held in the shooting at a movie theater that left 12 people dead and 58 injured. Holmes allegedly carried out the attack with a semi- automatic rifle, a shotgun and a handgun, which authorities said were purchased legally.

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Gun control has been a volatile issue in U.S. politics. Two months before the 1994 election, Congress passed a 10-year ban on assault weapons and then-President Bill Clinton signed it. Clinton, in his 2004 memoir, attributed the Democrats’ midterm loss of control of Congress to the gun issue.

President Barack Obama promised to reinstate the ban during his 2008 campaign, and Romney signed an assault weapon ban as Massachusetts governor.

Massachusetts Law

In the NBC interview, Romney said the Massachusetts law was a compromise supported by advocates of gun rights and those who wanted greater restrictions.

“I don’t happen to believe that America needs new gun laws,” Romney said. “A lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law. But the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening.”

Obama also addressed the shooting in a speech today to a conference of the National Urban League in New Orleans.

He said the nation must look beyond a single tragedy and find a solution to the everyday violence that “plagues so many cities across the country.”

Each day in the U.S., the number of young people who die violently “is about that same” as the number who perished in Aurora, he said.

He repeated his support for reinstating the federal assault weapons ban, saying such weapons belong in the hands of soldiers, not criminals. While such tragedies spur talk of “new reforms, of new legislation,” he said, “too often the efforts are defeated by politics and by lobbying.”

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--With assistance from Heidi Przybyla in Washington. Editor: Michael Shepard

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Sobczyk in Washington at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net; Roger Runningen in New Orleans at rrunningen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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