Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) this week suggested that she was willing to listen to gun control measures floated by legislators in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. last month.
“Well, I think that gun control has been an issue that’s been on the top of a lot of people’s minds after that horrible tragedy that took place in Connecticut," she told the Arizona Republic in an interview published on Monday. “I’ve been listening and receiving a lot of different papers and information in regards to what people believe the solutions are. So, it will be something I’m sure will be addressed in the Legislature, and my ears are all open, and I’m certainly anxious, if there’s a solution, that we get it done.”
Jesse Benson, a spokesman for the governor, was quick to clarify to the Republic that Brewer was “committed to taking the right steps" to bolster school safety, but wasn't specifically supporting any proposals that would run counter to her pro-gun views.
“The governor wants to be cautious about this and doesn’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction,” Benson said. “She’s a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and she has skepticism about actions that would limit the rights of gun owners in this country.”
Brewer's latest comment is far from an endorsement of gun control legislation, but it marks a change from her earlier statements on the matter -- and perhaps an openness to ideas beyond some of the more controversial measures being touted by other state Republicans.
Asked a similar question just days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December -- in which a gunman used a military-style assault rifle to gun down 26 people, including 20 first-graders -- Brewer sounded more resistant to proposals that included mechanisms to regulate the sale and possession of guns.
"I'm not sure it's something that needs to be addressed in that respect," she told reporters, responding to a question about whether she'd support additional gun control laws. "There are evil, evil people in our country, unfortunately, and in the world. ... And I don't know how we get our arms around it."
Arizona currently has some of the laxest gun laws in the nation. Brewer has taken heat for helping to guide through a state bill that allowed people to purchase guns without undergoing a background check.
Brewer was also criticized heavily for her moves to scale back firearms regulations following the mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz. in early 2011 in which six people were killed and 13, including then-Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), were injured.
Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly -- who has ripped Brewer and other lawmakers for inaction on gun control in the past -- marked the two-year anniversary of the Tucson shooting on Tuesday by launching a new political action committee aimed at curbing gun violence.