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Mitt Romney on Gun Control

Former Republican Governor (MA)


2008: "Lifelong" devotion to hunting meant "small varmints"

Romney's efforts to get right with the right landed him in trouble. Running against Ted Kennedy for the Senate in 1994, he declared, "I don't line up with the NRA" on gun control. By 2008, Romney had reversed himself on his [and other issues], which quickly gave rise to charges of hypocrisy and opportunism. A YouTube video began making the rounds that captured him firmly stating his liberalish social views, comically juxtaposing them with his newly adopted arch-conservative stances. From then on, th flip-flopper label was firmly affixed to Mitt's forehead.

Oh, and also the one about this "lifelong" devotion to hunting, which turned out to mean he'd done it twice. "I'm not a big-game hunter," Romney said, then explained that his preferred prey were rodents, rabbits, and such--"small varmints, if you will."

He couldn't fathom why the caricature of him was sticking. When Romney's staff showed him the devastating YouTube video, his first reaction was ,"Boy, look how young I was back then."

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.293-295 , Jan 11, 2010

GovWatch: 1994: did not “line up with the NRA”

Top Romney Flip Flops: #3. Gun Control:

Campaigning for the Senate in 1994, Romney said he favored strong gun laws and did not “line up with the NRA.” He signed up for “lifetime membership” of the NRA in August 2006 while pondering a presidential run, praising the group for “doing good things” and “supporting the right to bear arms.”

Source: GovWatch on 2008 campaign: “Top Ten Flip-Flops” , Feb 5, 2008

Support the 2nd Amendment AND the assault weapon ban

I do support the Second Amendment. I would have signed the assault weapon ban that came to his desk. I said I would have supported that and signed a similar bill in our state. It was a bill worked out, by the way, between pro-gun lobby and anti-gun lobby individuals. Both sides of the issue came together and found a way to provide relaxation in licensing requirements and allow more people to--to have guns for their own legal purposes. So we signed that in Massachusetts, and I’d support that at the federal level. It did not pass at the federal level. I do not believe we need new legislation. I do not support any new legislation of an assault weapon ban nature, including that against semiautomatic weapons. We have laws in place that, if they’re implemented & enforced, will provide the protection and the safety of the American people. I do support the right of individuals to bear arms, whether for hunting purposes or for protection purposes or any other reasons. That’s the right that people have
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

I support the work of the NRA, but disagree sometimes

We should check on the backgrounds of people who are trying to purchase guns. We also should keep weapons of unusual lethality from being on the street. And finally, we should go after people who use guns in the commission of crimes or illegally, but we should not interfere with the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns, for their own personal protection or hunting or any other lawful purpose. I support the work of the NRA. I’m a member of the NRA. But do we line up on every issue? No, we don’t.
Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 16, 2007

Ok to ban lethal weapons that threaten police

Q: Are you still for the Brady Bill?

A: The Brady Bill has changed over time, and, of course, technology has changed over time. I would have supported the original assault weapon ban. I signed an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts governor because it provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts, which was a big plus. And so both the pro-gun and the anti-gun lobby came together with a bill, and I signed that. And if there is determined to be, from time to time, a weapon of such lethality that it poses a grave risk to our law enforcement personnel, that’s something I would consider signing. There’s nothing of that nature that’s being proposed today in Washington. But I would look at weapons that pose extraordinary lethality.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 16, 2007

Compromise MA gun bills were net gain for gun owner

During Romney’s term he signed several pieces of firearms regulation. A look at that regulation does not reveal an anti-gun Romney. Those bills are characterized as “net gains” for gun owners in a state where opinioned is weighed against them.

During his tenure, Gov. Romney was credited with several improvements to state laws, including protections for shooting clubs, restoration of the Inland Fish and Game Fund, and requirements that all new hunters pass a hunter safety course. He is also credited with relaxing manufacturing testing for some models of pistols.

In 2004, Gov. Romney signed a firearms reform bill that made permanent the ban on assault weapons as well as clarified and insured other rights and responsibilities for gun owners. It was a hard-fought compromise between interest groups on both sides of the issue. The NRA Gun Owners’ Action League, law enforcement, and Massachusetts gun owners endorsed the bill.

Source: The Man, His Values, & His Vision, p. 72-73 , Aug 31, 2007

Supports Second Amendment rights but also assault weapon ban

Q: As governor you signed into law one of the toughest restrictions on assault weapons in the country.

A: Let’s get the record straight. First of all, there’s no question that I support 2nd Amendment rights, but I also support an assault weapon ban. Look, I’ve been governor in a pretty tough state. You’ve heard of blue states. In the toughest of blue states, I made the toughest decisions and did what was right for America. I have conservative values.

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

Will support assault weapons bill and Brady Bill

The candidate reiterated his support for an assault weapons ban contained in Congress’ crime bill, and the Brady law which imposes a five-day waiting period on handgun purchases. ‘I don’t think (the waiting period) will have a massive effect on crime but I think it will have a positive effect,’ Romney said.
Source: Joe Battenfeld in Boston Herald , Aug 1, 1994

Other governors on Gun Control: Mitt Romney on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Deval Patrick
MA Senatorial:
John Kerry
Scott Brown

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Contact info:
Campaign website:
www.mittromney.com/
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 55239, Boston, MA 02205

Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011