As Colorado reels from the mass shooting at a movie theater that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney reiterated his support for gun ownership on Monday.
“Well, I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment, and I also believe that with emotions so high right now, this is really not the time to talk about the politics associated with what happened in Aurora,” he said in an interview to be aired on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” at 7 p.m. ET. “This is really a time, I think, for people to reach out to others in their community that need help or a comforting hand. Let’s do that for now and then we can get on to policy down the road.”
Romney cautioned against new legislation, saying he did not “believe new laws are going to make the difference.”
“Our challenge is not the laws. The challenge is the people who are distracted from reality and do unthinkable, unimaginable, inexplicable things,” he said.
James Holmes, a 24-year-old former graduate student at the University of Colorado, Denver, was suspected in the July 20 shooting spree at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo.
Romney expressed sympathy for the victims.
“Our hearts are heavy as we think about the funerals this week and the families that have been so tragically altered by virtue of the loss of life,” he said.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed into law a ban on assault weapons and quadrupled the state’s gun licensing fee.
He said the law enjoyed support from politicians on both sides.
“Where there are opportunities for people of reasonable minds to come together and find common ground, that’s the kind of legislation I like,” he said. “The idea of one party jamming through something over the objections over the other tends to divide the nation, not make us a safe and prosperous place. If there’s common ground, why, I’m always willing to have that kind of conversation.”
Romney criticized President Barack Obama for his handling of the economy, accusing the Democrat “and his friends” of trying to push a “series of liberal plans,” such as “trying to impose unions” and making it difficult to drill on public lands.
“All of these things, not coincidentally, had the impact of slowing job creation and making it less likely for entrepreneurs to either open their doors or to expand hiring,” he said.
Adding that he would detail his policy proposals further as the campaign progressed, Romney unveiled a five-point plan.
- Take advantage of the country’s energy reserves.
- Open up trade, especially in Latin America.
- “Convincing the world that we are on track to having a balanced budget.”
- Create job-training programs.
- Keep taxes down.
Romney claimed that this was a sure-fire recipe for growth.
“If we do these things, you’ll see America’s economy come roaring back,” he said. “I don’t know how bad it’s going to get in the coming months, but I know that if we put in place those five policy directives, America’s economy will see the kind of resurgence the American people expected some years ago.”
Romney also bashed Obama over his comments about government providing the infrastructure to help businesses succeed.
“The context is worse than the quote,” he said. “This is an ideology which says, hey, we’re all the same here. We ought to take from all and give to one another. And that achievement, individual initiative and risk-taking and success are not to be rewarded as they were in the past. It’s a very strange and in some respects, foreign to the American experience type of philosophy. We have always been a nation that has celebrated success of various kinds.”
Romney, who is preparing for a trip to the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland, also entered the foreign policy sphere with comments on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“We don’t want to see a continuation of the same kind of brutality which has characterized the last several months, but what follows Assad we just don’t know,” he said. “But a person of this nature that’s overseeing the killing of his own people is obviously someone who is unfit to lead.”
"The Kudlow Report" airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.
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