Three months after losing a US Senate special election in which he was hammered for his opposition to gun control measures, Republican Gabriel E. Gomez has changed his stance, now saying he supports a federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The former Navy SEAL, who has said he is considering another run for elective office, explained after discussion with people across the state, including his wife, and weeks of reflection, he realized his previous stance was not the right one.
“In short: on this issue Massachusetts is right, my wife Sarah is right, and I was wrong,” he wrote in a submission on the Globe’s online opinion section.
In a telephone interview today, Gomez insisted that, despite appearances, his change of heart was not political. Rather, he said, the bans would be “better for our society.”
“I’m a father and I’m a husband and I care about what’s happening on our streets. And that’s really it,” said Gomez. “It has nothing to do with whether I’m going to run or not—I’m actually looking at quite a few things in the private sector.”
Gomez lost to Democrat Edward J. Markey by 10 points in the June 25 special election to fill the seat formerly held by John F. Kerry. During the race, Markey’s most effective attacks on Gomez homed in on his opposition to the two gun control measures.
In an April interview, Gomez said he was against bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, because of constitutional concerns.
“I’m a firm believer in the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights. I don’t think you should infringe on the type of weapon somebody should buy or the number of rounds in a high-capacity magazine,” he said in an April 9 interview with the Globe.
But today, in the interview, he said his position had evolved over the summer.
“The more I talked to people and the more I thought about it, I don’t believe it’s an infringement on the Second Amendment like I thought initially,” the former Navy SEAL said.
Gomez, who was in Washington, D.C., last week exploring potential opportunities for public office and private-sector employment, repeatedly reiterated that his change of heart was one of conscience not politics.
“I just felt like I owed it to the voters of Massachusetts to let them know where I stand and what my evolution was,” he said.
Meanwhile, Markey’s campaign worked to raise money off of reports that Gomez is thinking about a second run against Markey in 2014.
“Ed’s opponent from the special election is thinking about coming back for another go,” a Markey adviser wrote in an e-mail to supporters today.
Markey “is fighting for common sense gun laws,” the adviser wrote, before asking for contributions to Markey’s campaign.