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Erich Pratt, Gun Owners Of America: Reagan Supported Gun Control Only 'In His Later Years'

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Erich Pratt, the communications director of Gun Owners Of America, had a testy interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Wednesday where he insisted that President Ronald Reagan only supported gun control because of his advanced age.

"President Reagan owned an AR-15, Senator Jay Rockefeller -- " Pratt said.

"And he supported gun control, and he advocated for it," Mitchell responded.

"In his later years, and I think we have to keep that in account," Pratt continued.

"In his later years he was almost killed by John Hinckley," shot back Mitchell, referring to the 1981 attempt on Reagan's life.

"All through his presidency, he opposed gun control, that's my point," Pratt replied.

Pratt's comment about the former president's "later years" appeared to be a reference to Reagan's well-known senility, which began while he was still president and worsened after his retirement.

Regardless, Reagan's record on gun control is not black and white. In 1986 he signed the Firearm Owners Protection Act, which according to the Hartford Courant, "was hailed by gun rights advocates because it included numerous protections for gun owners. However, it also banned ownership of any fully automatic rifles that were not already registered on the day the law was signed."

In 1967, as governor of California, Reagan signed the Mulford Act, which prohibited carrying loaded firearms in public. The Black Panthers protested the bill because they carried loaded weapons openly in police patrols. He also supported a 15-day waiting period. He supported the Brady Bill post-presidency, but did not support or oppose it as president.

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