Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol on Sunday broke with fellow conservatives and backed restrictions the sales of "assault weapons" like the AR-15 that was allegedly used to kill at least 12 people and wound 58 others in Aurora, Colorado last week.
"People have a right to handguns and hunting rifles," Kristol told Fox News host Chris Wallace. "I don't think they have a right to semi-automatic, quasi-machine guns that can be used to shoot a hundred bullets at a time."
"And I actually think the Democrats are being foolish as they're being cowardly," he added. "I think there is more support for some moderate forms of gun control if they separated clearly from a desire to take away everyone's handguns or rifles."
"And you could put more pressure on moderate Republicans than people think. It's not as if Republicans from New York and Illinois and California couldn't -- that President Obama couldn't do what President Clinton did and put pressure on them [to pass an assault weapons ban]. President Obama on this one is just unwilling to take a strong stance."
But tea-party backed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Sunday argued that 100-round ammunition magazines and AR-15 assault rifles like the ones used in Aurora are "basic freedoms" that are protected by the Constitution.
“The left always uses the term ‘assault rifle,’ and they’re really talking about semi-automatic weapons that are used in hunting,” Johnson explained. "These are rifles that are used in hunting. Just the fact of the matter is this is really not an issue of guns. This is about sick people doing things you simply can’t prevent. It’s really an issue of freedom.”