President Bush said Friday he's had a "pulse change" in his views on gun control that was reflected in the administration's decision this week to ban the importation of most semiautomatic weapons.
Bush, speaking with reporters on Air Force One as he flew here from Colorado, said that the national debate over assault weapons like the AK-47 had gotten "a little bit" too hot."We'll make our decisions in a cool way. . . . We won't be swayed by the temper of the debate," he said.
Bush said that the decision to limit imports of five models of semiautomatic weapons "represents a heightened concern on my part about AK-47s" but that he is not prepared at this point to move beyond that action.
"We have to find an accommodation between the police and the sporting interests," Bush said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said the government may ban imports of additional kinds of semiautomatic weapons.
The bureau is still reviewing the uses of all types of imported semiautomatics but has not reached a decision on whether to suspend importation of more models than the five types banned from import this week, said Jerry Rudden, a spokesman for the agency.
"The process is ongoing. Additional firearms may very well be added to the list. . . . Large numbers of firearms are being looked at," he said.
National Rifle Association lobbyist Wayne LaPierre met with Bush's chief of staff, John Sununu, on Thursday. But an aide to Sununu said LaPierre did not push to block an expansion of the ban to more weapons models.
Asked if the import ban - which does not affect sale of U.S.-made weapons - was a change of position on gun control, Bush held his hand up to his wrist and said: "It's a pulse change." He supported the decision this week of a U.S. firearms manufacturer, Colt, to impose voluntary restraints on its production of semiautomatic weapons.