Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who may have presidential aspirations, on Sunday lined up with Americans who support what CNN’s Jake Tapper called an “assault weapons ban.”
During an interview on “State of the Union,” Tapper asked Bullock if he would support Sunday appearance on Tapper’s show, Bullock said, when asked by Tapper, if he would support such a ban. The term “assault weapons” is often used by gun rights opponents to describe semi-automatic weapons, which are not banned by law, and automatic weapons, which are proscribed.
“If we really step back for a minute, I think most folks that, be it in Montana or elsewhere, that are firearms owners want to keep themselves and their families safe,” Bullock said, according to Independent Journal Review.
“Now, there are things that we can do immediately, everything from red flag laws to closing — sort of having a universal background check, to making sure that we’re doing everything we can, some age restrictions and magazine restrictions,” he continued.
During his re-election campaign in 2016, Bullock had opposed universal background checks.
Bullock also told Tapper that the key with gun regulation was to find common ground and act.
“But let’s begin with everybody wants to keep themselves and their families safe, and let’s try to find those values where we can move things forward.”
After the show, a Bullock spokeswoman sought to clarify what the governor meant.
“Gov. Bullock is doing what most Americans are right now — reflecting on how we got to the point where mass shootings are a common event — and trying to find a way to stop it. Like many Montanans, Bullock is a gun owner and a hunter and he personally doesn’t see the need for these kinds of firearms for hunting or personal safety,” The Independent Record of Montana quoted Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel as saying.
“There are things we can do to keep guns out the hands of people who shouldn’t have them without taking privately owned weapons from those who legally own them,” she said.
Bullock, who in a May op-ed in the Great Falls Tribune called for universal background checks as a first step to gun regulation, noted in the column that in 1994, his 11-year-old nephew was shot and killed outside a Butte school.
Bullock is considering a bid to become the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020, according to The Washington Post.
Bullock made a recent trip to Iowa and is following that up with one to New Hampshire.
He explained what he was doing to Tapper.
“Right now, really, what I’m doing is, I have been listening. I have been traveling the country quite a bit, listening probably more than I have been talking. I have shared what we have done in Montana. But, for now, that’s as far as it goes,” he said.
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