Gov. Polis declined to support Biden’s call for a ban on “assault weapons.”

Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday declined to support President Biden’s call for a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” but said he was willing to consider further licensing requirements for certain “high-powered weapons.”

Polis, who is relatively conservative on gun issues and has criticized calls for assault weapons bans in the past, was asked by NBC News “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd if he supported a federal assault weapons ban proposed by Biden last week thereafter would support a mass shooting in Colorado Springs.

“In Colorado we have a magazine limit – 15 bullets, no more than 15 bullets in a magazine. So effective that it reduces the ability of high-powered weapons to deal damage. So look, I think all of these things, including the red flag law and expanding its use, really need to be looked at,” Polis said. “But again, it’s not just about guns policy. Yes, that should be on the table to think about and to discuss rationally. But we also need to talk about mental health. We need to talk about the divisive rhetoric that even some people who aspire to leadership positions in our country unfortunately use on an almost daily basis.”

After a gunman killed five people and injured dozens more at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado on Nov. 19, Biden said he would urge federal lawmakers to do so before January, when the next Congress takes office and Republicans take control of the Win House of Representatives to enact new ban on assault weapons.

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U.S. President Joe Biden (R) smiles as Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes remarks about protecting America’s iconic outdoor facilities October 12, 2022 at Camp Hale near Leadville, Colorado.
(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

“The idea that we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be bought is sick. Just sick,” Biden said during a news event in Nantucket, Massachusetts on Thanksgiving Day. “I’ll try to get rid of offensive weapons.”

The president appeared to be merging “assault” weapons with all semi-automatic weapons, which make up a large portion of rifle, handgun and shotgun purchases in the United States. A semi-automatic weapon automatically reloads each shot, but only fires one round at a time. The trigger is pulled manually.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks with Colorado Governor Jared Polis after disembarking Air Force One at Eagle County Regional Airport in Gypsum, Colorado on October 12, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks with Colorado Governor Jared Polis after disembarking Air Force One at Eagle County Regional Airport in Gypsum, Colorado on October 12, 2022.
(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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When Democrats use the controversial term “assault weapons,” they’re usually referring to a group of semi-automatic long rifles like the AR-15 that can fire 30 rounds without reloading. A 1994 ban, signed by President Bill Clinton and expiring in 2004, specifically banned 19 types of semi-automatic firearms, as well as other rifles, shotguns, and handguns that possessed two or more specific features, including pistol grips, detachable magazines, and silencers. The maximum capacity of a magazine was also set at 10 rounds.

U.S. President Joe Biden walks with Hunter Biden and his wife Melissa Cohen after having lunch in Nantucket, Massachusetts November 25, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden walks with Hunter Biden and his wife Melissa Cohen after having lunch in Nantucket, Massachusetts November 25, 2022.
(MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

A study published in 2004 for the Justice Department found that the “impact of the ban on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement”.

On Sunday, Todd urged Polis a second time whether he would support another ban, and the governor acknowledged he would be willing to look at further licensing requirements for certain “high-powered weapons.”

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“I have generally supported national efforts to close the gun exhibition loophole and have a conversation about what type of guns were being used,” the governor said. “As you know fully automatic weapons are already effectively banned – we shouldn’t say that, there is a way to get a federal license to operate one. But if you’re talking about a similar process where you need additional license or background you’re looking for some of the most powerful weapons, I supported that as a member of Congress.

“That’s the sort of thing that we should be looking at nationally, but not to the exclusion of all these other things that we’re talking about that may be important as well,” he said, referring to action to tackle mental health.

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