General

Gun Rights and Mitt Romney

In the recent Presidential debate, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann said America’s voters did not need to “settle” for the moderate candidate. Amen to that.

And gun owners do NOT want candidates who talk out of both sides of their mouths.

As the Gun Owners of America’s Board of Directors looks at the Republican candidates running to unseat radical anti-gun President Obama, we see several who have strong pro-gun backgrounds. Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman all have solid pro-gun records and deserve a hard look from pro-gunners.

At least one frontrunner candidate stands in contrast with a decidedly mixed record on the gun issue. While Mitt Romney likes to “talk the pro-gun talk,” he has not always walked the walk.

“The Second Amendment protects the individual right of lawful citizens to keep and bear arms. I strongly support this essential freedom,” Romney assures gun owners these days.

But this is the same Mitt Romney who, as governor, promised not to do anything to “chip away” at Massachusetts’ extremely restrictive gun laws.

“We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them,” he said during a gubernatorial debate. “I won’t chip away at them; I believe they protect us and provide for our safety.”[1]

Even worse, Romney signed a law to permanently ban many semi-automatic firearms. “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense,” Romney said in 2004. “They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”[2]

Romney also spoke in favor of the Brady law’s five day waiting period on handguns. The Boston Herald quotes Romney saying, “I don’t think (the waiting period) will have a massive effect on crime but I think it will have a positive effect.”[3]

Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”

And that makes it all the more troubling that Romney refuses to answer GOA’s simple candidate questionnaire. In our more than 36 years of experience, a candidate is usually hiding anti-gun views if he or she refuses to come clean in writing with specific commitments to the Second Amendment.

Today, Romney may be a favorite “Republican Establishment” candidate of the national press corps. But that is exactly what gun owners DON’T need in a new President. We need someone who will stand by true constitutional principles and protect the Second Amendment.



[1] Mitt Romney in the 2002 Massachusetts Gubernatorial debate.  Part of the quote can be read in this article at Scot Lehigh, “Romney vs. Romney,” Boston Globe (January 19, 2007) at:

http://mittromney4potus.blogspot.com/2007/01/context.html

“Romney signs off on permanent assault weapons ban,” July 8, 2004, at: http://www.iberkshires.com/story.php?story_id=14812

[3] Mitt Romney, quoted by Joe Battenfeld in the Boston Herald, Aug. 1, 1994.