Although he once said banning so-called assault weapons fell under the category of issues best left to the states, Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown told The Republican / MassLive.com in an exclusive interview Wednesday that he now supports federal action.

Brown cited the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting that killed 26 people, including 20 children, as the turning point in his stance on the issue.

“What happened in Newtown where those children were subject to that level of violence is beyond my comprehension. 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 said. “As a result, I support a federal assault weapons ban, perhaps like the legislation we have in Massachusetts.”