Former Republican presidential candidate and likely 2016 contender Rick Santorum dismissed the need for gun safety regulations during an appearance on ABC’s This Week Sunday, arguing that Americans should have access to military-style weapons and magazines, including the armor piercing bullets used by criminals to kill cops.
During a heated exchange with former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Santorum argued that Obama should have focused on restricting access violent Hollywood movies and video games, rather than limiting the availability of assault weapons or high capacity magazines. Asked why American gun owners needed such powerful firearms and bullets that are often used by criminals to kill police officers, Santorum briefly hesitated, before insisting that Americans have a right to defend themselves with the most dangerous weapons:
GRANHOLM: Why do you need armor-piercing bullets, why do you need that?
SANTORUM: Because we’re talking about a particular type of bullet that is and can be available —
GRANHOLM: Deer don’t wear armor. Why do you need an armor piercing bullet?
SANTORUM: Criminals could and having, having…
GRANHOLM: And police officers certainly do…
SANTORUM: And having the ability to defend yourself is a right in our country.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — a stach advocate of gun safety — has railed against armor piercing bullets, arguing that they pose high risks to police officers. Police departments and prosecutors across the country supporting restricting access to such ammunition. As Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta asked troops at the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza in Italy this week, “I mean who the hell needs armor-piercing bullets except you guys in battle?”