New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who’s running against incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, said Wednesday she would support an “appropriate, fair assault weapons ban.”
Hassan’s comments come in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, in which a gunman, armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun, killed 49 people before police killed him.
Asked by NH1’s Paul Steinhauser on Tuesday if she would support reinstating a ban on assault weapons, Hassan said, “I certainly think that we can take steps to prevent this kind of weapon, that is designed to create mass casualties from getting into the hands of the wrong people while still protecting the Second Amendment rights of the people of New Hampshire and making sure that we’re protecting the ownership and use of legitimate hunting rifles.”
On Wednesday, Aaron Jacobs, Hassan campaign communications director, clarified those comments.
“As the Governor stated yesterday, she supports a ban on these types of dangerous assault weapons that have made it far too easy for dangerous individuals to inflict large numbers of casualties,” he wrote in an email. “She believes this can be done while still allowing the use of legitimate hunting rifles.”
When Steinhauser first asked if Hassan agreed with President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton about reinstating the ban, Hassan offered her condolences to the victims of the Orlando shootings and talked about standing with the LGBT community and defeating terrorism.
“I think it is really critically important that we consider the fact that this murderer got a weapon of mass destruction that caused mass casualties even though he was known to the FBI as a suspected terrorist,” Hassan said.
“And it is time for the Senate, I am very disappointed that the Senate, including Senator Ayotte, who had the chance to close a critical loophole, that might have prevented him from getting this gun, they failed to do that in December,” Hassan said.
Democrats have hit Ayotte for not supporting legislation that would ban people on the FBI’s no-fly list from purchasing firearms. Ayotte supported different legislation that would prevent individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms but that she says would also protect “Americans’ due process rights.”
Hassan’s race against Ayotte is rated a Tossup contest by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.