NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 1/19/2011 12:05:42 PM ET 2011-01-19T17:05:42

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, a staunch gun advocate, says tighter weapons regulations might be "appropriate" to prevent another tragedy like the Arizona mass shootings that left six people dead and a congresswoman seriously wounded.

Cheney, an avid hunter, said he is "willing to listen to ideas" on how to better control the purchase and use of firearms.

"Whether or not there's some measure there in terms of limiting the size of the magazine that you can buy to go with a semiautomatic weapon — we’ve had that in place before. Maybe it’s appropriate to re-establish that kind of thing, but I think you do have to be careful obviously," Cheney told NBC's Jamie Gangel, national correspondent for "TODAY."

"We’re looking for ways to make sure this never happens again, but you’ve 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," Cheney said in the interview, parts of which aired Wednesday.

The Arizona shooting spree on Jan. 8 in Tucson that claimed six lives and left 13 others wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has renewed the debate over gun control measures.

    1. Hoffman withdrew $1,200 hours before death: sources

      Philip Seymour Hoffman withdrew a total of $1,200 from an ATM at a supermarket near his New York City apartment the night before he was found lifeless in his bathroom with a syringe still in his left arm, sources told NBC News.

    2. NYC mayor will skip St. Pat's parade over gay ban
    3. Indiana man back home 18 years after abduction
    4. 32 states in the path of another wild storm
    5. Judge vows quick ruling on Va. marriage ban

Jared Loughner, 22, is accused of shooting Giffords in the face and then turning his gun on a crowd of people waiting to meet the congresswoman. The weapon used in the attack, a Glock 19 with an oversize clip capable of firing around 30 rounds without reloading, was legally purchased by Loughner two months before, Arizona authorities have said.

The shootings have prompted some lawmakers to call for banning high-capacity gun magazines. A 1994 assault weapons ban outlawed such clips, but President George W. Bush and congressional Republicans allowed the ban to expire in 2004.

2nd Amendment advocate: Ban on high-capacity clips passes muster

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., on Tuesday introduced a bill to ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones allegedly used by Loughner. McCarthy's husband was killed  and son wounded by a gunman on the Long Island Railroad in 1993.

The bill would limit the number of clips sold in the U.S. to 10 rounds maximum.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., plans to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.

A new survey released Wednesday shows an overwhelming majority of U.S. gun owners, and Americans in general, support tougher measures to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill and others barred by law from owning weapons.

Eighty-one percent of gun owners, and 86 percent of all Americans, back requiring personal background checks for all firearms sales, regardless of whether the weapon is bought from a licensed dealer or from a private seller at a gun show, the poll said.

Ninety percent of those polled in both groups also support fixing gaps in government databases that are designed to prevent criminals, mentally disturbed people and others from obtaining guns.

The survey of 1,003 registered voters nationwide was conducted from Jan. 11 through Jan. 13 jointly by the Republican-aligned polling firm American Viewpoint and the Democratic-oriented firm Momentum Analysis, and released by the bipartisan coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

© 2013 msnbc.com

Video: Cheney: May be time to limit gun magazine size

  1. Closed captioning of: Cheney: May be time to limit gun magazine size

    >>> now to our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at vice president cheney 's life after the white house . the man nicknamed by some critics as darth vader now spends time at his home writing his memoirs with the help of his daughter, liz.

    >> in an exclusive interview that jamie had, she asked if cheney would support his daughter following in his footsteps in running for political office . he's what he had to say.

    >> she's got to decide, obviously, it's her call whether or not she wants to do it. but i'd be very pleased if she decided she wanted to try it. i would help her or stay away, whatever helps most. but, no, i -- if she decides to do it, i would enthusiastically support her.

    >> jamie, national correspondent for nbc's "today" show. she joins us now. and we're hearing if it's wyoming or virginia , feels like wyoming , doesn't it?

    >> i think it's going to be a couple of years. i would guess wyoming over virginia .

    >> and the vice president, former vice president talked about the 2012 race. we talked a little bit yesterday about what he said or didn't say about sarah palin but he talked about some of the other contenders.

    >> he did. and he had this assessment of them, which was more than sarah palin .

    >> we've got a lot of good prospective candidates out there. and i'm intryinged, for example, by, oh, someone like mitch daniels . i like mitch because he's got a breadth of experience as omb director, for example. because he's run a major part of a big corporation, he's run a think tank , hudson institute . he's now been governor of indiana and he's done in indiana what i think we need to do at the national level. now, will mitch run? i don't know whether he'll run or not. is the only potential candidate out there? no, we've got a lot of other good ones. chris christie from new jersey, tim pawlenty from minnesota.

    >> what do you think of mitt romney ?

    >> i like mitt romney very much. mitt has that same experience. on the other hand we've got good senate talent too. people like john thune from south dakota . so i think there's no shortage, let me apologize at the outset to everybody i didn't mention. but the fact is, i think we've got a wealth of talent in the republican party .

    >> uh-oh, so who didn't he name?

    >> you know what i like, this isn't someone who's pretending to not care about politics anymore now that he's left office.

    >> and then the most recent stuff. you thought it was a surprising answer when you asked him about new gun control laws and the potential for new gun control laws.

    >> i really was surprised. when he walked about tucson, he is a well-known gun add voe the tod -- advocate, a hunter. but he opened the door just a little bit, listen.

    >> do you think that this incident -- that there is something that you would support, measures in gun control that should be changed that could help avoid this in the future?

    >> well, i'm not sure exactly what they would be. i'd certainly be willing to listen to ideas. i have always been a gun advocate, obviously had a strong voting record on behalf of the second amendment. that's just what i believe, and 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, but i think you do have to be careful obviously that the court -- supreme court 's ruled on the second amendment, it's an important part of our historic legacy, and 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.

    >> i think he was opening the issue of magazines going back from 30 down to where they used to be before.

    >> but clearly this is a guy who is still a political junkie. you know, he's always been known as almost much more of a poll than george w. bush was, that he kept track of the senate seats. he was keeping track of who was up and who was down.

    >> i think he loves being in the thick of things. yesterday he said i am gradually adjusting to civilian life.

    >> emphasis on the word gradually.

    >> and telling how he said he'd like to be involved in liz cheney 's run should she run but he'd step back.

    >> that was the wyoming hint. he was basically run saying if she runs in virginia , i better get out of

Photos: Mourning follows deadly shooting in Arizona

loading photos...
  1. A hearse carrying the remains of U.S. District Judge John Roll arrives at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church before his funeral on in Tucson, Ariz., Friday, Jan. 14. Roll was killed in the Jan. 8 shooting that left six dead and wounded 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. (Morry Gash / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Mary Kool holds a single red rose outside the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church where the funeral of U.S. District Judge John Roll was to take place. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Mourners arrive at the funeral service of Judge Roll. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A flag recovered from ground zero is raised during funeral service for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Tucson, on Thursday, Jan. 13. Green was the youngest victim of the shooting rampage. Green was born on Sept. 11, 2001. (Mamta Popat / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Left to right, Roxanna and John Green, mother and father of Christina Taylor Green, and their son Dallas Green, arrive at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church for her funeral in Tucson on Thursday. (Mamta Popat / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. 2,000 mourners were in attendance at the funeral of Christina Taylor Green on Thursday in Tucson. (Mamta Popat  / Pool via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. People dressed as angels line the street leading to the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church where the funeral for Christina Taylor Green was to take place in Tucson on Thursday. Hundreds, dressed in white, lined the streets for more than a quarter mile of the funeral procession. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. John Green kisses his son Dallas on the head as the family follows the casket of Christina Taylor Green at her funeral mass in Tucson, on Thursday. At left is Christina's mother Roxanna and at right is Camden Grant, Christina's godmother's son. (Rick Wilking / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A young mourner carries flowers and a teddy bear to the funeral of Christina Taylor Green in Tucson on Thursday. (Mamta Popat / Pool via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Cindy and John McCain listen during the funeral service for shooting victim Christina Taylor Green in Tucson on Thursday. (Greg Bryan / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A woman holds the service program from the funeral for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green outside St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Tucson on Thursday. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Arizona's McKale Memorial Center during the memorial service for victims of the shootings in Tucson. Obama told the crowd on Wednesday, Jan. 12, that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time since being shot in the head during the attack on Jan. 8. Six people were killed and 13 wounded by the lone gunman. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Daniel Hernandez , the 20-year-old intern credited with likely saving the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, hugs her husband, NASA shuttle commander Mark Kelly, as U.S. first lady Michelle Obama applauds. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. First lady Michelle Obama holds the hand of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's husband, NASA shuttle commander Mark Kelly, as they listen to President Barack Obama speak. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. People sing the national anthem during the memorial service on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson. (Chris Carlson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the start of the memorial event. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. People line up at the University of Arizona campus for the memorial service. (David Becker / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Barb Tuttle is overcome with emotion at a makeshift memorial outside the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Jan. 12 in Tucson. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Women waiting in line for the memorial service look at the campus paper at the University of Arizona. (Rick Wilking / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, holds his wife's hand in the congresswoman's hospital room at University Medical Center on Jan. 9. (Offiice Of Gabrielle Giffords / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Ron Barber, 65, district director for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is visited by Giffords aide Daniel Hernandez in his hospital room on Jan. 9. Hernandez rushed to Gifford's aid after she was shot. Hernandez said that while he held the wounded Giffords, he asked another bystander to put pressure on Barber's wounds. He also asked Barber for his wife's phone number and then shouted it out to someone so that Barber's wife, Nancy, could be informed of the shooting. (Gabrielle Giffords' Office / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama observe a moment of silence with White House staff members on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Jan. 10. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Congressional staff observe a moment of silence to honor victims of the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on the steps of the Capitol in Washington. (Michael Reynolds / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Rachel Cooper-Blackmore, 9, adds a note to a memorial at Mesa Verde Elementary School in Tucson, on Jan. 10. Christina Taylor Green, 9, was killed during the Tucson attack. (Chris Carlson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Rachel Crabb, 5, holds hands with teachers, parents and other students during a moment of silence for her slain schoolmate, Christina Taylor Green, at Mesa Verde Elementary School on Jan. 9. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Candles are lit on Sunday at a makeshift memorial outside University Medical Center in Tuscon, Ariz., for those killed or wounded during the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords . (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Ellie Steve, 6, from left, Lucia Reeves, 6, and Zoe Reeves, 18, gather for a candlelight vigil outside the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., on Sunday. (Chris Carlson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Six balloons representing the six people killed in Saturday's shooting spree, as part of a prayer vigil.Rep. Gabrielle Giffords battled for her life on Sunday after an assailant shot her in the head and killed six others in a rampage that has launched a debate about extreme political rhetoric in America. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. People console each other at a makeshift memorial located outside the University Medical Center on Jan. 9 in Tucson, Ariz. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. The American flag flies at half-staff on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 9. In a brief statement Sunday morning, House Speaker John Boehner said flags on the House side of the Capitol in Washington will be flown at half-staff to honor the slain aide, Gabe Zimmerman, of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Thirty-year-old Zimmerman was among six killed Saturday. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. The congregation prays for the victims of Saturday's shooting in Tuscon, at the Pantano Christian Church in East Tucson, Jan. 9. (Rick Wilking / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Monty Edmonds, 36, left, of Tucson; Maggie Kipling, 34, of Tucson; Leigh Harris, 50, of Phoenix; Bella Furr, 21, of Tucson; and Sarah Herrmann, 22, of Tucson participate in a vigil at University Medical Center for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot during an event in front of a Safeway grocery store Jan. 8, in Tucson, Ariz. (Laura Segall / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Emergency personnel use a stretcher to move Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head outside a shopping center in Tucson on Saturday. (James Palka / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Ernie Freuler fights back tears as Ray Lilley takes photos of the scene outside the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head by a gunman who opened fire outside a grocery store, Saturday, Jan. 8, in Tucson, Ariz. (Chris Morrison / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. A law enforcement officer stands outside the home of Jared L. Loughner, identified by federal officials as the suspect arrested in connection with the shooting of U.S Representative Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 8. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. People gather for a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting in Arizona at the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Saturday Jan. 8. (Jose Luis Magana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Vera Rapcsak and others hold signs outside the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday after she was shot while meeting constituents. (Chris Morrison / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Emergency personnel attend to a shooting victim outside a shopping center in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, Jan. 8, where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others were shot as the congresswoman was meeting with constituents. Rep. Giffords, 40, a Democrat, took office in January 2007, emphasizing issues such as immigration reform, embryonic stem-cell research, alternative energy sources and a higher minimum wage. The gunman shot Giffords in the head, seriously wounding her, and killed six other people in a shooting rampage at a public meeting in Tucson on Saturday. Giffords was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson where she underwent surgery. One of the doctors who treated her said he was optimistic about her recovery. (James Palka / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. A woman places flowers by the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Capitol Hill in Washington on Saturday after she was shot in Tucson by a gunman who opened fire, killing six people, including a U.S. district judge, John M. Roll. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. In this photo provided by The White House, President Barack Obama talks with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer about the shooting. (Pete Souza / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Emergency personnel at the scene where Giffords and others were shot outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson on Saturday. (Matt York / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Law enforcement personnel work the crime scene on Saturday. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. A medical helicopter evacuates victims from the shooting scene. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments