Brewer, in Afghanistan, calls war 'unimaginable'

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R).

AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Schennum

PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer said she won't support any new laws to limit who can carry a gun, even in the wake of the killing of students and teachers in Connecticut.

"I'm a strong supporter of the Second Amendment," the governor said Tuesday, which also was the second anniversary of the shootings in Tucson at a community event with then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that left six dead and others, including Giffords, permanently injured.

The governor acknowledged that in the face of those tragedies "people are concerned," but said that should not translate into new restrictions.

"I am not a proponent of gun control," she said. Instead, Brewer said, she will continue to follow the path she has outlined in the last two years, when she vetoed measures to allow weapons into places where they are not now permitted, like rights of way on college campuses and in public buildings that don't have metal detectors.

"I'm a proponent of safe areas and, certainly, safe schools," the governor said.

"I think we all can agree that we need to assure that our schools are safe and that public areas are safe," she continued. "But that doesn't necessarily mean gun control. We have to come up with solutions."

The governor, however, offered no specific solutions, saying only she is "hopeful ... we can address what it is that we, as government, can do to make it safer."

In response to a question, Brewer took no position on the National Rifle Association assertion that the answer to gun violence is to let more people carry weapons into more places, despite her past efforts to keep guns out of many of those places.

"You probably would be better to talk to the NRA in regards to that issue," she said.

Nor was she willing to criticize the organization or suggest, as did Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, in a op-ed column Tuesday, that the NRA exerts too much influence and represents "an ideological fringe."

Brewer, who got an A-plus rating from the NRA when she ran in 2010, said, "I think that the NRA represents a huge number of people that believe in the Second Amendment."

Much of what can be done about the sale of guns is controlled at the federal level.

For example, federal laws that require a background check on gun purchasers do not apply to what are considered person-to-person sales. And that has been interpreted to include those who buy or sell weapons at commercial gun shows, even in large quantities.

But there are ways for some local regulation.

For example, in 1999, after a triple murder at a Tucson pizza shop, city officials made doing background checks on buyers a condition of conducting gun shows in the city-owned convention center. But lawmakers in 2002 approved a measure that bars cities from imposing such restrictions.

On Tuesday, Brewer was noncommittal about whether the right to demand background checks should be given back to cities.