, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

July 26, 2012

Tierney, Tisei differ on gun control

In the wake of the Colorado shootings, Congressman John Tierney and challenger Richard Tisei both say they favor “reasonable” regulations on the kind of assault weapon used in the attack.

But there is still a big difference in their positions.

Tierney, a Salem Democrat and congressman since 1997, said he supports reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004.

Tisei, a Wakefield Republican and former state senator, stopped short of supporting the ban, saying he’ll “be reasonable” and will “look at” any legislation that is proposed. But he also said the tragedy has convinced him that some assault weapons should be banned.

The two are vying for the 6th District congressional seat in this fall’s election. And gun control is emerging as an issue around the country after a gunman killed 12 people and wounded 58 last week at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado.

Though both Tierney and Tisei agreed no one should politicize the tragedy, both took the opportunity to chide one another.

“My opponent is the poster child for the NRA,” Tierney said of Tisei, noting that Tisei voted against a conference committee report banning assault weapons in Massachusetts in 2004.

“There are a lot of people who want to score political points” on the tragedy, Tisei said, “John Tierney being one of them.”

Tisei reiterated his support for the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, and for the rights of hunters, target shooters and those seeking to protect themselves to carry guns.

“In this case, there is no law that could have prevented this tragedy from taking place,” Tisei said. “Obviously, it was a very evil and deranged person who planned an attack, and I’m not sure if any law could have prevented him from moving forward with the plan. If it wasn’t guns he had, he could have blown up the theater.”

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