NRA Endorses Romney

It’s certainly no surprise that the National Rifle Association is endorsing the Republican candidate for president. But it might be a surprise that the candidate they endorse signed a permanent ban on assault weapons when he was governor of Massachusetts.

“As the Supreme Court has recently reaffirmed, the Second Amendment protects a basic and fundamental individual right—the right to bear arms,” said Mitt Romney, via press release. “And it is the NRA that protects the Second Amendment. I am proud to have their support for my candidacy, and when I am president, I will do all in my power to defend and protect the right of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.”

Hmmm. What did the etch-a-sketch say in 2004, when he signed the bill that made the ban on assault weapons permanent?

“Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts,” Romney said, at a bill signing ceremony with legislators, sportsmen’s groups and gun safety advocates. “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”

And what did the NRA’s Massachusetts state affiliate, Gun Owners Action League (GOAL), say at the time? They issued a press release entitled “Firearm Reform Bill Signed, Romney Takes Opportunity to Betray Gun Owners.”

On July 1, 2004 , Governor Mitt Romney signed into law one of the greatest of reforms to Massachusetts gun laws in recent history. In what should have been a day of celebration for GOAL and its members, the Romney administration took a major shot at lawful gun owners and showed their true colors…

When asked by a reporter if he supported the renewal of the federal “assault weapons” ban and if he had spoken to the senators about it, Governor Romney replied that it was not really his job to lobby on federal legislation, but that he shared Senator Kerry’s and Senator Kennedy’s position on the issue!

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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  • Abby Normal

    NRA Member: I hunt for food. A ban on assault weapons makes it harder to feed my family.

    Me: Are you kidding me, you need a fully automatic assault rifle for hunting?

    NRA Member: Sure! Hell, it takes me 50 rounds just to draw a bead on my target.

    Me: That’s terrible. Also, you’re not allowed to pee at my house anymore.

  • trucreep

    This seems like more of an NRA issue. He’s got a pretty reasonable position here.

  • DaveL

    Abby, fully automatic weapons are still restricted items that require special licensing.

  • Scott Simmons

    I can’t say I fault the NRA on this one. Bans on fully automatic assault-style weapons have long had bipartisan support. But broad handgun bans, like the proposed Illinois law Barack Obama supported when he was running for the state Senate, the NRA has so far successfully fought against. While Obama has not pushed for any legislation like this as a U.S. Senator or as President, it’s reasonable to suppose that this is only because he knows it probably wouldn’t pass the legislature or be upheld by the courts if it were. If the NRA is intent on endorsing a candidate who might actually win, Romney is the obvious choice.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    Which proves, yet again, that the NRA is all about partisanship and nothing to do with its stated mission.

  • DaveL

    Scott, the MA AWB affected semi-automatic weapons with large or detachable magazines. Fully-automatic weapons have been restricted nationwide since 1934.

  • Shawn Smith

    So, Scott Simmons, I guess you just ignore the only actions that Obama has taken as president with respect to gun legislation. Namely, the signing of a law to allow loaded firearms to be carried in national parks and another that allows firearms to be in checked luggage on Amtrack. You can take your whining about gun rights somewhere else where people aren’t informed. It is now perfectly obvious that the NRA is now a Republican front organization.

  • Abby Normal

    Shawn Smith, those laws were obviously just pandering, whereas the Chicago legislation reveals Obama’s true intentions. You can tell because that’s the only explanation that fits with the rest of Obama’s secret socialist agenda, which we all know to be true. I mean, the only other possibility is that the entire conservative media sphere has been systematically pushing an egregiously deceptive narrative of the President. What possible reason could they have to do something like that?

  • chrisbryant

    I’m a noob at this, but isn’t the NRA a non-profit? I thought non-profits were prohibited from political endorsements.

  • Abby Normal

    ChrisBryant, the NRA is 501(c)(4), which is a nonprofit category for political advocacy groups. Contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations are generally not tax deductable. You’re probably thinking of 501(c)(3) nonprofits, which include charities and most churches.

  • CSB

    Abby, it may also be worth mentioning that the NRA (like many 501(c)(4) groups) also has a separate (c)(3) branch called the NRA Foundation. This branch focuses on, to quote Wikipedia, “public interest activities…designed to promote firearms and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills of those participating in the shooting sports, and to educate the general public about firearms in their historic, technological and artistic context”.

  • StevoR

    NRA endorses Rmoney? Quell surprise!

    Sure did see that coming.

    They took this long tho’?

  • busterggi

    The NRA and conservative Christians greatly overlap – for some reason they don’t get enough comfort from their religion unless it is backed up with firepower.

  • Area Man

    But it might be a surprise that the candidate they endorse signed a permanent ban on assault weapons when he was governor of Massachusetts.

    Not really. The gun-nut lobby has more to do with tribal identity than it does with guns. Guns are just emblematic of larger cultural issues. The NRA is seething in its resentment of Obama, and everything else is just rationalizing.

  • Scott Simmons

    Where did you see me whine about gun rights, Shawn? I just think that the past history shows that Romney is somewhat friendlier to the NRA’s goals as a lobbying organization. I really don’t think that Obama is likely to do anything extreme to restrict gun rights on a national basis, even if he wanted to, which is pretty much unknown. He’s been very quiet about that since he’s been on the national stage–maybe his views have changed, but mostly I think it’s just not nearly as important to him as universal health care and tax fairness.

    Whether it should be on his radar screen is a completely different question. Gun violence is obviously a huge problem in the U.S., but it seems to be too much of a political hot potato for anyone to seriously try to tackle. In any case, any change would have to start with the Congress. Good luck with that.

  • parkjames

    I have a former politician friend who is a Democrat, pretty big liberal about everything, but also a lifelong NRA member and gun enthusiast. The NRA endorsed him in his race and he won, but they only endorsed him because he was in a very blue district.

    When he went to one of the NRA’s national meetings, he was one of the only Dems in the room and was berated about it. The NRA is a completely partisan organization whose only goal is to elect conservative republicans.

  • DaveL

    I just think that the past history shows that Romney is somewhat friendlier to the NRA’s goals as a lobbying organization.

    Well, that goes without saying, as the NRA has become almost explicitly a Republican front. At the Republican National Convention, NRA president David Keene went on record saying that defeating Obama was a top priority. Seeing as the NRA’s agenda is more anti-Obama than pro-gun rights, my border collie is more aligned with their lobbying goals than Obama is.

  • Michael Heath

    Scott Simmons writes:

    I can’t say I fault the NRA on this one.

    Sure we can. The only credible argument available to the NRA is the fact there is so little either presidential candidate is willing and able to do to change the gun laws, coupled to the reality there are far more important issues where the candidates and their respective party’s differ, the NRA has no compelling argument promoting either candidate for president.

    An argument with integrity would compare and contrast the two candidates’ positions on gun rights within the context of their respective party’s positions and the impact such policies have on all us. It wouldn’t stretch to absurdity that we should ignore the candidates’ and their party’s positions on climate change, energy policy, fiscal policy, education, and judicial nominations considering the entire Constitution, and instead vote for the guy who might be able to make a small tweak or two on the gun laws, or even a major change. What a great world we’d live in if the biggest issue facing was a candidates’ position on gun rights. Using gun rights as a litmus test is idiocy, far more than those who do the same with abortion. And yet people do it, I think to hide the fact motivations other than gun rights are in play that they’d prefer not confronting, both with others and in some cases, with themself.

  • Ichthyic

    The gun-nut lobby has more to do with tribal identity than it does with guns. Guns are just emblematic of larger cultural issues.


    where “tribalism” is another word for authoritarianism.

  • Donovan

    Mitt Romney: 1461 presidents for the price of one. You’d never wear the same underwear for more than one day, why would you want the same president? Makes no sense. Vote Romney 1, Romney 2, Romney 2a, Romney 2b, Romney 3a.1, Romney 3a.2…. and Romney 1267vx.22[tt] in 2012.

    —I’m Romney 987cj.22, and I approve this message.