Boehner: ‘AK-47s Are Not Allowed To Be in the Hands of Criminals – That is The Law’

By Elizabeth Harrington | July 26, 2012 | 3:08pm EDT

( – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), on Thursday, refuted President Barack Obama’s remarks in the aftermath of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado that “AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals.”

Boehner said, “Well, AK-47s are not allowed to be in the hands of criminals.”

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During his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, a reporter asked Speaker Boehner, “The president said last night that he thinks most gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals.  And he said that he’s going to work on a consensus in terms of making sure there are better background checks and whatnot.  You said you were following the president’s lead earlier this week. Do you agree with him now and would you be willing to be a part of that conversation?”

Boehner said, “Well, AK47s are not allowed to be in the hands of criminals -- that is the law.”

“And if the president has proposals on other ways we can address criminals owning guns, I’d be happy to look at it,” he said.

Some politicians have lobbied for greater gun control in the aftermath of the shooting rampage a week ago in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) called for reinstating the assault weapons ban, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “somebody’s got to do something” before insisting that gun show dealers conduct background checks.

The suspect, James Holmes, 24, was a former Ph.D. student and had no criminal record, therefore he passed “all the necessary background checks” when he purchased two hand-guns, a shot gun, and a semi-automatic rifle between May 28 and July 6.

Initially, the Obama administration indicated it would not pursue gun control legislation in the wake of the shooting.

President Barack Obama addresses the National Urban League convention at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Wednesday, July 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“The president is focused on doing the things that we can do that protect Second Amendment rights, which he thinks is important but also make it harder for individuals who should not, under existing law, have weapons to obtain them,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Speaker Boehner said he agreed with the president’s position when he was asked about moving gun control legislation in the House.

“We had a shooting by a deranged person in Colorado, and our hearts and souls go out to the victims and those who were killed and those who were injured and their families,” Boehner said.  “The president has made clear that he’s not going to use this horrific event to push for new gun laws -- I agree.”

President Obama then expanded on the issue at a speech to the National Urban League on Wednesday.  “I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” Obama said.

“But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals; that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities,” he said.

“I believe the majority of gun owners would agree that we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons; that we should check someone's criminal record before they can check out a gun seller; that a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily," Obama said. “These steps shouldn't be controversial. They should be common sense.”

During Thursday morning’s press conference, several reporters again questioned Boehner on the need for more gun-control laws, in particular background checks.

“I think what’s appropriate at this point is look at all the laws that we already have on the books and to make sure that they’re working, as they were intended to work, and are they being enforced the way they were intended to be enforced,” said Boehner.

“That’d be the most logical step forward at this point.”

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