If you blame the NRA for what happened there, you're blaming 4 million law-abiding Americans who tuck their children safely into bed every night and who teach them to respect firearms and to use them safely. And if you blame them, you're also blaming me, because I'm one of those 4 million NRA members.
Responsible gun owners should be at the forefront of any effort to find a balance between rights and responsibilities to make America safer for our children. We understand better than most that guns made this country free and are an important part of our culture and heritage.
I make this solemn pledge to all my friends who are proud, law-abiding members of the NRA: I will defend the Second Amendment with every fiber of my being. And I make this solemn pledge to all my friends in the media and entertainment industry: I will defend the First Amendment just as vigorously.
I'm never going to give up my guns — that will not happen. I support a sensible, comprehensive process that can lead to reasonable solutions regarding mass violence. I will weigh the evidence for any proposals put before me, including ways to address high-capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons, improve mental health treatment, and transform a culture that glorifies violence.
We cannot take a single-issue approach to this problem. The causes of mass violence run deeper than that. Any solution that doesn't take all concerned parties into account will lack the credibility it needs to become a reality. But we should all be looking for a comprehensive fix. We owe that to Newtown.
This is the way we responded to challenges in West Virginia when I was governor. After tragic mine disasters, we called a brief time out, huddled up and created a plan to protect our miners. We didn't quit mining; we made the mines safer. That's similar to what this country did after Sept. 11, 2001: We didn't quit flying; we made flying safer.