A woman wears a hat and buttons supporting Mitt Romney during a campaign… (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images )
MIAMI - Reacting to a shooting that left three dead and several wounded near Texas A&M University - the latest in a string of multiple shootings across the nation this summer - Mitt Romney on Monday ruled out new gun laws and said the nation must collectively figure out how to prevent such tragedies.
“Clearly there's going to have to be consideration given to how it is these tragedies could be prevented,” he told reporters on the tarmac at Miami’s airport. “I don’t have the answer for you today, but it’s something I’m going to give thought to, and I’m sure a lot of other people in the country will do the same.”
But when asked whether prevention measures should include looking at the nation’s gun laws, Romney said no. When he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported some gun control measures and signed the first permanent state ban on assault weapons. He now opposes a federal ban on assault weapons.
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“I happen to believe that this is not a matter of the weapon that is used, it's a matter of the individuals and the choices these people make, and we have to understand how to prevent those kinds of choices from being made,” he said. “I don't think gun laws are the answer, but I do believe that this is a topic that needs to be considered.”
Romney made the comments after arriving in South Florida for a rally and a fundraiser. He was accompanied by Sen. Marco Rubio, one of those he considered as his running mate before selecting Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. Rubio called the choice of Ryan “fantastic.”
“It really crystallizes what his election is about. It’s a quite stark difference between the two tickets, the two choices that the American people have,” Rubio said.
Democrats have pounced on the selection, trying to paint Romney as extreme because of Ryan’s controversial plans to push Medicare toward a voucher system and cut other domestic programs. Romney rejected that assertion; he said it was deficit spending that was extreme. As for the confluence between his views and Ryan’s, he said that while he was sure there were some policy disagreements, he couldn’t name one.
“The items that we agree on I think outweigh any differences there may be. We haven't gone through piece by piece and said oh here's a place where there's a difference,” Romney said. “I can't imagine any two people even in the same party who have exactly the same positions on all issues.”