Dick Cheney is no gun control advocate. In fact, as Rachel Maddow pointed out in a recent segment, he was one of only a couple members of the House of Representatives who voted against a ban on plastic guns back in the 1980s and is a regular at meetings of the National Rifle Association.
But in the wake of the mass shooting in Arizona that gravely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and killed six others, even Cheney indicated he’s support restrictions on high-capacity magazines such as the clip allegedly used by Jared Lee Loughner.
It wasn’t a ringing endorsement, exactly. But here’s what Cheney told NBC’s Jamie Gangel in an interview which aired this morning:
“Whether or not there’s some measure there in terms of limiting the size of the magazine that you can buy to go with semi-automatic weapons, we’ve had that in place before. Maybe it’s appropriate to re-establish that kind of thing.”
Cheney added that “you do have to be careful obviously” due to the Second Amendment’s historic legacy and rulings by the Supreme Court.
“We’re looking for ways to make sure this never happens again, but you still got to go back to the fact that it looks like the cause of this particular tragedy was this one individual who apparently has very serious mental problems,” he added.
The NRA, unsurprisingly, came out against a ban on the high-capacity magazines, which were banned under the federal assault weapons ban until it expired in 2004. The NRA dubbed the plan, supported by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) in the House and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in the Senate, as just another scheme to impose a “gun ban.” Gun control supporters are holding out hope that President Barack Obama will step up to the plate on the issue of gun control, which has become a third rail for the administration.
Late Update: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) issued a statement regarding Cheney’s comments: “A ban on high-capacity gun magazines would save lives, plain and simple. When a strong gun advocate like Vice President Cheney talks about bringing back this ban, it is a clear sign that protecting the safety of innocent people should trump the special interest gun lobby.”