Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Wednesday that many of the weapons used in Friday’s fatal mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater were illegal — but several news outlets have reported that the guns used in the attacks were obtained legally.
"Well this person shouldn't have had any kind of weapons and bombs and other devices and it was illegal for him to have many of those things already. But he had them," Romney said in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams.
Romney reiterated a point he has made several times since the shooting: Stricter gun laws would not have prevented the attack, which left 12 people dead and more than 50 wounded.
“We can sometimes hope that just changing the law will make all bad things go away. It won't,” Romney, who backed gun-control legislation when he was governor of Massachusetts, said on NBC on Wednesday. “Changing the heart of the American people may well be what's essential, to improve the lots of the American people."
The guns used in the attacks were reportedly purchased legally between May 22 and July 6 at three separate gun stores in Colorado. The ammunition used by the alleged shooter, James Holmes, was also obtained legally, over the Internet.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote in an e-mail to National Journal that Romney was referring to the bombs the shooter set in his apartment, which police found and disarmed after the shooting occurred. Holmes allegedly used legal materials to make an illegal bomb.
Romney also addressed a racially inflammatory comment reportedly made by one of his advisers to the effect that Romney shared a special relationship with Great Britain, based on a shared "Anglo-Saxon" heritage, that Obama does not appreciate.
“I’m generally not enthusiastic about adopting the comments made by people who are unnamed.… So I’m not sure who this person is,” Romney said, adding that both he and the president understand the “special relationship” shared by Great Britain and America.
As to his vice presidential pick, Romney said the choice hasn’t been made yet, adding that he would not name his choice until after he returns from his overseas trip. Romney has events scheduled in Israel and Europe through next Tuesday.
“While I’m overseas, I’m not going to announce my vice presidential running mate,” Romney said. “When that decision is made, I’ll make that announcement. It’s not made yet.”