Scott Brown becomes first Republican to back federal assault weapons ban

Scott Brown of Massachusetts on Wednesday became the first sitting Republican senator to voice support for a federal assault weapons ban after the Newtown, Conn., shootings.

Brown failed to win re-election in November, however, and won’t be in Congress to vote on gun legislation.

“As a state legislator in Massachusetts, I supported an assault weapons ban thinking other states would follow suit. But unfortunately they have not and innocent people are being killed,” Brown told Massachusetts paper the Republican on Wednesday. “As a result, I support a federal assault weapons ban, perhaps like the legislation we have in Massachusetts."

Brown is the first sitting Republican senator to offer support for a new federal ban—something Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has pledged to introduce in January and something the White House has indicated will have the president’s support.

Several pro-gun-rights Democratic lawmakers, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin—who spoke with President Barack Obama to discuss the issue on Tuesday—Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Joe Donnelly of Indiana have either expressed concern over the availability of assault weapons or left the door open to a discussion.