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Video: Ronald Reagan on the difference between military rifles and self-defense

President-elect Ronald Reagan with James Brady
AP Photo/Walt Zebowski
Conservatives then had different views on guns.
  • Ana Campoy
By Ana Campoy

Deputy editor, global finance and economics

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

In the wake of a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, many US conservatives are resisting calls to ban semi-automatic weapons and the accessories that make them fully automatic.

But Republicans weren’t always so protective of those types of guns. In 1989, former president Ronald Reagan took a stand against “machine guns” being used by the public. This is how he answered when asked whether prohibiting military rifles would ultimately violate hunters’ rights during a 1989 forum at University of Southern California:

“I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen to own guns for sporting, for hunting, and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for the defense of the home.”

See him make his case below:

Semi-automatic military-style firearms like that used in the Parkland shooting can be legally modified to fire like machine guns, using accessories called “bump stocks.” President Donald Trump called to ban bump stocks after they were used to kill 58 and injure hundreds in Las Vegas last year, but so far has failed to implement any practical change. The National Rifle Association’s Dana Loesch has allowed that bump stock regulations should be “reviewed” but says the organization does not support a ban.

At a meeting with governors from across the country yesterday, Trump promised to step up his efforts. “Bump stocks, we are writing that out.” he said. “I don’t care if Congress does it or not, I’m writing it out myself.”

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