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Baker sees ‘opportunity’ for federal action on guns

Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts during the National Governor Association 2018 winter meeting on Saturday.Jose Luis Magana/AP

WASHINGTON — After four days of meetings with governors and group discussion with President Trump on Monday, Governor Charlie Baker said he “came away thinking that there was probably opportunity for action” at the federal level on guns.

“There seemed to be fairly decent interest in expanding what’s in the NICS system and broadening the amount of information that is available through that,” he said referring to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

“No one in that room was saying they should do nothing,” he said referring to a morning meeting at the White House with most governors and the president. “Everybody in that room was saying they should do something and ... it’s my hope that they do.”


Speaking to the Globe in a US Senate meeting room where he was about to participate in an event about opioids, Baker said he thinks federal officials “should reinstate the assault weapons ban,” which expired in 2004. He said the ban is something he’s “talked to a number of the governors down here about.”

Baker, who was in Washington for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, has supported a reinstatement of the ban since at least late 2014.

But in a TV interview before he was governor, Baker appeared to be much more reticent on reinstating a federal assault weapons ban.

“If I thought it would solve the problem, I’d be all for it,” he said on New England Cable News. “I need to see the evidence.”

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.