My Analysis of Romney’s answer to a question about gun control

Romney may have gotten one good line in, but as I mentioned, his answer to NBC’s Brian Williams’ question on gun control was awful.  The only place I was able to find a full transcript was a Conservative website, but here it is:

Williams: As governor you signed an assault weapons ban in Massachusetts. And you said at the time, quote, ‘These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.’ Do you still believe that?

Romney: Well, I actually signed a piece of legislation, as you described, that banned assault weapons in our state. It was a continuation of prior legislation. And it was backed both by the Second Amendment advocates like myself, and those that wanted to restrict gun rights, because it was a compromise. Both sides got some things improved in the laws as they existed. And I happen to think that with regards to the Aurora, Colorado disaster, we’re wise to continue the time of memorial and think of comforting the people affected. And political implications, legal implications are something which will be sorted out down the road. But I don’t happen to believe America needs new gun laws. A lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law. But the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening.

Let’s break this down bit by evasive, mealy-mouthed bit, with my comments in red.

  1. “I actually signed a piece of legislation, as you described, that banned assault weapons in our state. It was a continuation of prior legislation.”  [He is basically trying to say: “it’s not my fault, it was like that when I got there.”]
  2. “And it was backed both by the Second Amendment advocates like myself, and those that wanted to restrict gun rights, because it was a compromise. Both sides got some things improved in the laws as they existed.” [It was an assault weapons ban–that means it restricted guns, period.  Don’t try to retcon everything so that you were more radically conservative.  He’s trying to appeal to the hardcore NRA members by lying to them, and what’s worse is that it’s not even a very good lie, as it makes him look like an incompetent governor.]
  3. “And I happen to think that with regards to the Aurora, Colorado disaster, we’re wise to continue the time of memorial and think of comforting the people affected. And political implications, legal implications are something which will be sorted out down the road.” [I said something similar on the day of the atrocity; I thought we should wait until more facts were known before talking about what to do to prevent it.  But now, more facts are known.  Romney is trying to dodge the question so that he doesn’t have to alienate any voters.]
  4. “But I don’t happen to believe America needs new gun laws.” [What happened to what you said in the previous sentence?  Do you want to talk about the political angle or not?  If America doesn’t need new gun laws, then tell us: what does it need?  Surely something can be done to prevent this kind of tragedy.]
  5. ” A lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law. But the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening.”  [What? Yes, everyone knows mass murder is illegal, and yet it still occurs.  That’s true.  But the point is, you can make it harder for the crime to be committed.  What Romney said is a trivial generality; an attempt to dodge the question again.  And it succeeded, because Williams then moved on to another topic.] 

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