Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) says that there is no doubt in his mind that last week's shooting at a theater in Aurora was an example of domestic terrorism.
"You know, in a funny way this guy is a terrorist," Hickenlooper said of James Holmes, the man who is suspected of killing at least 12 and wounding 58 others.
"He wasn't a terrorist in the sense of politics, but for whatever twisted reasons we can barely even imagine, he wanted to create terror. He wanted to put fear in people's lives."
But the governor told CNN's Candy Crowley that he couldn't think of "any way in a free society" to have determined that the shooter was amassing an arsenal, which included an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle with a 100-round magazine, two Glock handguns, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and various types of body armor.
"He was buying things in different places," he explained. "Certainly we can try -- and I'm sure we will try -- to create some checks and balances on these things. But this is a case of evil, right? Of somebody who was an aberration of nature and, you know, if it wasn't one weapon it would have been another. I mean, he was diabolical."
"What I hear from you is that you would be open to people who want to suggest a gun law or something that might prevent this sort of thing, but at the moment you can't imagine what that would be?" Crowley asked.
"I'm happy to look at anything," Hickenlooper agreed. "Again, this person -- if there were no assault weapons, there were no this or no that, this guy's going to find something, right? He's going to know how to create a bomb, he's -- I mean, who knows where his mind would have gone."
In Sunday's comments, the Colorado governor seemed to be backing away from a statement he made as Denver mayor in 2008 when he promised to consider tougher gun laws.
"Hickenlooper will look at Denver's gun laws to ensure they are as effective as they can be in keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and young people," The Denver Post reported at the time.
"Let me be clear: This community will not accept violence — not a day of it, not a week of it, not a month of it — and certainly not a summer of it," he said following a series of shootings in Denver. "There are a number of other cities addressing gun laws. .... We want to look at the matrix of our existing laws and see if some of these other laws are able to help."
Watch this video from the CNN's State of the Union, broadcast July 22, 2012.