Nightly News   |  July 25, 2012

Romney: America doesn’t need new gun laws

In an exclusive interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney – who signed an assault weapons ban in Massachusetts as governor -- said that the legislation was a compromise. What the Aurora theater shooter did was against the law, Romney added, but that didn’t prevent the tragedy from happening.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> back in london, our conversation with mitt romney . he flew overnight from reno, nevada. from here his trip goes onto israel and poland. in conjunction with the games gearing up, it gave us an opportunity to talk with him today in one of the historic old buildings in the tower bridge complex. we started by talking about the issues raised by this mass murder in colorado , about gun violence in the u.s.

>> i want to ask you about the compelling news back home, and that's from aurora, colorado where we were on friday. this is about your own record vis-a-vis what happened here. as governor you signed an assault weapons ban in massachusetts. you said at the time, quote, these guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. they are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people. do you still believe that?

>> well, i actually signed a piece of legislation, as you described, that banned assault weapons in our state. it was a continuation of prior legislation. it was backed both by the second amendment advocates like myself, and those that wanted to restrict gun rights , because it was a compromise. both sides got some things improved in the laws as they existed. i happen to think with regards to the aurora, colorado , disaster, we're wise to continue the time of memorial and think of comforting the people affected. political implications, legal implications will be something sorted out down the road. i don't happen to believe america needs new gun laws . a lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law. the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening.

>> on to another topic, and that is your taxes. can you say your decision is firm that you'll not do a walkback between now and the convention, now and the fall election, that there will be no more returns released by mitt romney .

>> i'm following the same precedent that was put in place by john mccain . two years. and by the way, hundreds of pages of returns for the democrats to go through and twist and distort and turn in different directions and try and make a big deal out of them. the american people are not real concerned about tax returns . they are concerned about how ho can get this economy going and create good jobs again. i can. the president hasn't been able to do the job as he expected to do and i know how to get it done.

>> you also know what happens in the real world . people hear he's not going to release his returns, and they wonder why. is there a year he didn't pay taxes. they wonder about expensive horses and houses and what have you. so i'll ask another way, what is it that is preventing you from releasing the rest of our returns.

>> well, one, i released all the information about my financial holdings. that's required by law. in addition beyond the law have released or will finally release when the last year is complete two full years of returns.

>> i want to read this. this happened on "meet the press," david brooks , op-ed columnist "new york times." i want to get your reaction to this quote. what's relevant is who the guy is -- speaking of governor mom's -- he has an amazing story, his family was an exodus story across the west, poverty, building an empire. he can't talk about it because it involves mormonism. he's personally a decent guy. for some reason he's not willing to talk about it. he's a hidden man. are you a hidden man.

>> well, no. as a matter of fact, i'm happy to talk about my heritage. i speak actually quite regularly about the fact my dad was born in mexico, with revolution in mexico. my dad then aged 5 or 6 came back to the u.s. with his family. they went broke multiple times. his dad was a contractor. my dad didn't complete college but went on to be the head of a car company and then governor. i think it's a remarkable story. i'm very proud of my heritage. without question i'm a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. some call it the mormon church . that's fine with me. i'll talk about my experiences in the church of there's no question they have helped shaped my perspective.

>> i know how much you love quoting unnamed romney advisers. here is a republican official familiar with your campaign selection process told the folks at politico you are looking for a, quote, incredibly boring white guy for your vice presidential nominee . can you confirm or deny.

>> you told me you were not available.

>> touche, governor.

>> i can't give you anything on that front whatsoever. i can tell you i'm not going to announce it this week. while i'm oervez i'm not going to announce my vice presidential running mate. when the decision is made, i'll make that announcement. it's not made yet. i can't tell you when it will be. that's something we'll decide down the road.

>> part of our conversation here today in london with governor romney, there is more on the web, including his personal stake in the games. his wife's dressage horse competing in