Washington CNN  — 

Donald Trump said Tuesday he supports allowing Americans to legally buy and own assault weapons.

“You have to be because the bad guys are going to have them anyway,” Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.” “What happens when the bad guys have the assault weapons and you don’t in a confrontation?”

Trump suggested overturning gun-free zones and said civilians with guns could have stopped the mass shooting at a community college last week in Oregon.

Trump has played up his support for nearly unrestricted gun rights throughout the campaign as he has looked to bolster his conservative credentials, especially given his past support for some gun control measures.

“I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” Trump wrote in his 2000 book “The America We Deserve.”

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He also had in the past supported longer waiting periods to purchase a gun.

Trump has since highlighted his gun rights support, saying repeatedly that he is “very strong on the Second Amendment.” One of his three policy papers lays out his support for gun rights and protecting the Second Amendment.