US Senator Scott Brown, who has described himself as a supporter of Massachusetts’ tough gun laws, said today he would not support federal gun control legislation and does not know if anything can be done to prevent a repeat of Saturday’s mass shooting in Arizona.
In a wide-ranging but brief interview, one of a series Brown is giving today as he gears up for reelection in 2012, the Republican said he would not support a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban, which has garnered fresh attention in the wake of the killing of six people and the grave wounding of US Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
From 1994 until it expired in 2004, the federal ban made it illegal to manufacture or import extended ammunition clips like the one that allowed the gunman, Jared Loughner, to fire as many as 30 bullets before pausing to reload.
“I’m not in favor of doing any additional federal regulations relating to any type of weapons or federal gun changes,” Brown said. “I feel it should be left up to the states.”
Brown also rejected the notion that heated political rhetoric played any part in motivating Loughner. “It seems clear and apparent that long before Sarah Palin and long before the supposed rhetoric, this guy was focused on her for whatever reason,” Brown said. “And, clearly, he had some serious mental issues.”
During the interview, Brown also sought to burnish his image as an independent actor in Washington, and embraced the challenge he will face from Democrats next year.
“Is it any surprise I’m the underdog and the target?” he said. “Am I missing something? I’ve been taken for granted forever. I’m just going to keep battling.”
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