In my Thursday column, I reference an exchange I had with Mitt Romney at CPAC last Friday on his position on guns. In the interest of transparency, I have transcribed our full exchange.
PK: On gun control, I know you signed an assault weapons ban in Massachusetts in 2004, now I know you joined the NRA within the last year. Can you tell me if an assault weapons ban came up at the federal level, would you sign or veto that?
ROMNEY: Well, it depends on what it looked like, but…
PK: If it was something like the ’94 bill…
ROMNEY: I have indicated that my position is the same as it has been which is I support the Second Amendment, but I also support (an) assault weapon ban, that’s why I signed a bill of that nature. That’s what I said back in ’94. I’m in the same position that President Bush is. President Bush also says he supports the Second Amendment, but he would support an assault weapon ban. But the specifics of the particular ban are something that I’d have to look at, and it’s been a long time since we’ve looked at the particular types of weapons that might be involved. So my position is the same there as it has been before —
PK: But if the ’94 one came up for vote again…
ROMNEY: Well obviously, we’ve learned some things since then. I haven’t seen the specific proposal at this stage and so I couldn’t comment on it until we had. We had an effort in Massachusetts on the part of some to ban 50 caliber rifles. I opposed that, indicated I would oppose that ban. You know, I think we have to be very careful in any way restricting Second Amendment rights. I support the Second Amendment. We’ve got a gun at our house, it’s owned by my son. I’ve hunted since I was a young man. I believe that people have the right to bear arms. But I also recognize that there’s some types of weapons that don’t need to be in the public’s hands, machine guns certainly, and I’d be open to consider appropriate kind of measures, but I’m not looking for blanket kind of prohibitions on people being able to have arms for their defense.
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