BOSTON -- Republican Gov. William Weld, often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 1996, reversed his stand on gun control Wednesday, urging bans on most assault weapons in Massachusetts and the sale of handguns to anyone under 21.
Weld also proposed a state Brady Bill to institute a five-day waiting period for all handgun purchases in Massachusetts to allow for background checks, and recommended increasing penalties for a wide range of weapons offenses.
Weld, a first-term Republican who opposed a ban on assault weapons when he ran for governor in 1990, said he had changed his mind because of the growing number of teenage murders and weapons on city streets.
Democratic Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, Weld's likely opponent in next year's gubernatorial election, said he was glad to see the governor 'has finally come to his senses' on the issue, but urged a total ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons. Weld's proposal would prohibit only assault rifles with clips of more than 15 rounds.