Skip to main content

G&A Perspective: Gun Ownership Under President Romney

Mitt-RomneyWith Mitt Romney wrapping up the Republican nomination for president and the tumultuous primary season slogging to a whimpering but grateful end, American gun owners finally know who their voting alternative to Barack Obama will be come November. And while Romney hasn't always been regarded as the best friend of gun ownership in this country, as evidenced by some of his choices early in his political career, it seems he and the NRA will go all in on mutual support, as evidenced by his rousing welcome at the association's annual meetings in April.

Even as Romney spoke in St. Louis as the clear Republican frontrunner, not every gun owner was convinced he'd make the best choice when compared to the lingering field of candidates at the time.

Politically Expedient?

Many still recall Romney's voiced support of the Brady Bill, waiting periods for handgun purchases and President Bill Clinton's crime bill during a Senate run in Massachusetts in 1994, as well as his extension of a state "assault weapons ban" (AWB) and implementation of higher gun licensing fees as governor of Massachusetts between 2003 and 2007.


In typical political fashion, however, even the state AWB law extension wasn't a clear black and white issue. Despite extending a law few gun owners on the surface would find positive, the provisions of the bill were shaped in part by the input of pro-gun forces such as the NRA and the Gun Owners Action League.


As a result, it ultimately gained their support. The bill included provisions that benefited Massachusetts gun owners, including extending the term of the state's firearms licenses from four to six years, establishing a Firearm License Review Board to review and in some cases restore firearms ownership rights to individuals who had them previously denied, and removed as many as 700 listed firearms from the state AWB that had not been included in the federal ban. The law also reinstated a 90-day grace period for citizens attempting to renew their firearm license in the event the state agency in charge of approving those licenses took too long, ensuring gun owners couldn't be charged for illegally possessing a firearm or ammunition because their card had expired.

While some gun owners still question Romney's sincerity when he stands up as a champion of their rights, the devil in the details of the candidate's record on the issue lend enough credence to his claims that he is, and has, largely been a supporter of hunters and shooters -- even if some of his statements regarding his own hunting past have been found to border on the inaccurate.

Romney famously told reporters during his failed presidential bid in 2007, "I'm not a big game hunter. I've made it very clear: I've always been, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter. All right? Small varmints, if you will." The language of his statement revealed that while Romney may have possibly spent some days with his shoulder to the gun, an avid sportsman he was not. The media at the time confirmed he had really been hunting only a few times and had not purchased a hunting license in any of the four states where he owned homes at the time.

To ardent gun supporters however, that is all moot. The Second Amendment, after all, isn't about hunting, and Romney's characterization of modern sporting rifles as "deadly assault weapons (that) have no place in Massachusetts," and saying the rifles "are not made for recreation or self-defense," during the AWB extension signing in 2004 will undoubtedly live on in some pro-gun voter's minds.


Down to Romney and Obama

Despite the lingering concerns, with the race now down to Mitt Romney or President Barak Obama, the question for gun owners is clear: Who will be the better pro-gun president? The answer is a no-brainer, especially if you agree with concerns shared by a growing number of shooters and recently voiced by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

"What else would a second term for Obama mean for you and me?" LaPierre recently wrote in America's 1st Freedom, an NRA-published magazine. "€¦ It would mean a White House freed from the control of American voters, and a president free to prosecute his war on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms with impunity."


LaPierre cited the Justice Department's botched involvement in "Fast and Furious," a government-sponsored gun running operation in which firearms were provided to smugglers in order to trace them to Mexican cartels and allegedly prove administration claims that a majority of guns being used by drug runners come from the United States. A number of those guns were found to have been used in crimes on both sides of the border, including the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. The NRA chief also cited Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's work on and support of United Nation's efforts to pass an international gun ban treaty that could serve to circumvent our own constitution.

When President Obama was elected in 2008, his victory spawned a rush of buyers to our nation's gun shops, all of them fearing that new gun laws were on the way that would tighten or even outlaw ownership of many models, particularly tactical rifles such as ARs. Many of those fears, fortunately, have not yet come to pass.

With a persistently languishing economy, continued war and a politically bizarre push for nationalized healthcare, Obama has had his hands full with more pressing matters. His advisers no doubt remember that it was the NRA and its supporters who were credited with snuffing Al Gore's presidential bid in 2000 and installing a Republican-majority to Congress in 1994. Anger the nation's gun owners and in an election that is too close to call, and Obama could be looking for a job come the end of this year. Avoid them and lull them into complacency, and he might squeak by. That's the line of thought LaPierre is convinced Obama strategists are following.

"All that first term lip service to gun owners is just part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term," LaPierre told a crowd during the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Washington Times reported.

The run on gun shops in 2008 and resulting firearms shortages could look like a mere blip compared to the one that will ensue given the real threat a second-term Obama poses.

Life Under Romney

Whether you believe Romney is a true champion of the Second Amendment or feel he's saying what he must to get elected, odds are if the NRA helps him win, his gratitude will be such that he won't do anything to upset that support throughout his term. That means it is doubtful we will see a return to any "assault weapons" bans or other federal legislation that will infringe upon gun rights. Without question, where gun rights are concerned, Romney is the hands down choice.

Despite high-profile cases such as the Trayvon Martin shooting, there appears to be diminishing public support for restrictive gun laws, as well. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found 75 percent of respondents support right-to-carry laws, a Pew Research survey found the number of Americans who believe the right to own a gun is more important than gun control rose from 34 percent in 1993 to 48 percent in 2011, and Gallup revealed citizens wanting to ban handguns dropped from 60 percent in 2000 to just 26 percent today.

With the economy at the top of every American's mind and little cry for restrictive gun measures, you can bet Romney will be focused on approving measures that stimulate jobs, not restrict our freedoms. And that can only be good news for all Americans, not just gun owners.

For more on Mitt Romney and other candidates' stances on shooting, hunting, fishing and conservation, check out Sportsmen Vote.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Guns & Ammo TV: Irons vs. Optics

Guns & Ammo TV: Irons vs. Optics

How much of an edge do optics give shooters? In this segment of Pros vs. Joes, Guns & Ammo TV puts Coordinating Producer Jeff Murray against Professional Shooter Chris Cerino.

Guns & Ammo TV: Springfield Armory XD-M 10mm

Guns & Ammo TV: Springfield Armory XD-M 10mm

In this “At The Range” segment, Guns & Ammo Editor Eric Poole and Senior Field Editor Craig Boddington look over the features of the XD-M.

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout cartridge was developed to provide greater effectiveness than a 9mm at short and medium ranges when fired from a short-barreled suppressed firearm. Just because the cartridge wasn't designed to go long doesn't mean Rifles & Optics Editor Tom Beckstrand won't take it there, using a large-format pistol, no less. Armed with SIG Sauer's 9-inch-barreled MCX Virtus Pistol loaded with Black Hills' 125-grain TMK ammunition, Beckstrand attempts to ring steel at 600 yards with help from Hornady's 4DOF ballistic calculator in this segment of “Long Range Tech.”

Trijicon

Trijicon's New Specialized Reflex Optics (SRO)

The Trijicon SRO is specifically designed for pistol use. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick Sweeney compare the visibility of red and green lasers in outdoor, sunny conditions. Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light Accessories

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 24, 2020

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick...

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an engineering degree to tinker with; here's a look at some upgrade options to take your Ruger American to the next level, and make it something a bit different.Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades Accessories

Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades

Philip Massaro - March 15, 2018

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an...

From milled slides to optics-included packages, these pistol options are all red-dot sight ready.14 Red Dot Ready Pistols You Must See Handguns

14 Red Dot Ready Pistols You Must See

James Tarr - December 20, 2018

From milled slides to optics-included packages, these pistol options are all red-dot sight...

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new RMRcc, they plan on dominating the concealed carry market as well.Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry Optics

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry

Jeremy Stafford - October 01, 2020

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new...

See More Trending Articles

More Industry

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation.NSSF Q&A: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)

NSSF Q&A: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)

National Shooting Sports Foundation - July 23, 2020

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

According to various sources, Remington is preparing to file bankruptcy for the second time in two years. Talks are underway to transfer ownership of the company to the Navajo Nation, and the news is spreading to attract the attention on both sides of the gun debate.Update: Remington Bankruptcy Industry

Update: Remington Bankruptcy

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 02, 2020

According to various sources, Remington is preparing to file bankruptcy for the second time in...

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.NSSF: More Americans Are Hunting Through COVID-19

NSSF: More Americans Are Hunting Through COVID-19

Larry Keane - June 30, 2020

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Guns & Ammo goes on location at Independent Studio Services (ISS) to examine the guns used by actor Chris Hemsworth as “Captain Mitch Nelson” ODA 595's commander, in the movie “12 Strong” (2018). The film was based on Doug Stanton's non-fiction book “Horse Soldiers,” which told the story of U.S. Army Special Forces sent to Afghanistan following the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.Guns & Ammo TV: Guns of '12 Strong' Industry

Guns & Ammo TV: Guns of '12 Strong'

Guns & Ammo Staff - August 07, 2020

Guns & Ammo goes on location at Independent Studio Services (ISS) to examine the guns used by...

See More Industry

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now