Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says he 'would' support assault weapons ban

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock walks down the main concourse during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Washington (CNN)Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock said Sunday that he "would" support assault weapons ban, staking out a strong position on the issue ahead of a possible run for president in 2020.

"You know, I would Jake," Bullock told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday morning when asked if he would support a ban on semiautomatic weapons. "Now, there are things that we can do immediately, everything from red flag laws to closing, sort of having a universal background check, to making sure that we're doing everything we can, some age restrictions, magazine restrictions. But let's begin with everybody wants to keep themselves and their families safe, and let's try and find those values where we can move things forward."
Bullock's latest stance goes further than he did in a May op-ed that ran in the Great Falls Tribune. In it, Bullock made a significant change in his views on gun policy and said he supports universal background checks. As more and more speculation about him potentially running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 arises, he is taking his views on guns even closer to the views of the majority of Democrats nationwide.
This marks a stark change from Bullock's re-election campaign for governor in 2016, when his campaign released a statement responding to an attack from his Republican opponent, Greg Gianforte. The statement said, "Steve Bullock supports Montana's current laws when it comes to gun rights. He opposes universal background checks, he has expanded gun rights as governor and he will always stand up for the Second Amendment."
    On Sunday, Bullock also talked about the bigger picture of a winning strategy for Democrats, saying he believes Democrats can win going forward by following his lead and going to states where the party was not successful in the 2016 election.
    "I think the way that I've won in Montana ... is by showing up, by listening, not just by going to places where Democrats are, but going all across the state, giving them a reason to vote for me as well," Bullock said.
      Bullock, who was re-elected in 2016 despite the state voting for Trump by a 56.5% to 35.9% margin, has been taking his message on the road lately. Last week, he visited the Iowa State Fair and spoke about how he has been able to bring people together in his home state and trying to use that as an example for others. Next week, he's heading to another early primary state: New Hampshire.
      "I think if we actually are out there and we're focusing not just in one part of the country, but if we believe that we share the values of most Americans and we fight for those values, Democrats can compete anywhere in this country," Bullock said.