The shootings in Aurora, Colorado, have reignited a debate about gun control and whether the now-expired federal Assault Weapons ban that would have covered one of the rifles used in the theater could have prevented the tragedy.
On CNN’s State of the Union this Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) explained that while “we need to look at everything,” gun control measures may not prevent mass gun violence:
MCCAIN: We had a ban on assault weapons, it didn’t change the situation at all in my view…. Look, I think that the strongest second amendment rights people would be glad to have a conversation. But to somehow leap to the conclusion that this was somehow caused by the fact that we don’t have more gun control legislation I don’t think has been proved.
But McCain was once a gun control advocate. He served as a spokesman in the early 2000s for Americans for Gun Safety, a campaign that encouraged states to enact stricter regulations. In 2004, McCain broke with his party to vote to close the gun show loophole. As the GOP presidential nominee in 2008, McCain earned scorn for his moderate gun control positions.
An original version of this article misstated that McCain supported the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban.