“As the Supreme Court has recently reaffirmed, the Second Amendment protects a basic and fundamental individual right—the right to bear arms... 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.”
“Let me speak very directly and candidly about where I stand. I support the Second Amendment as one of the most basic and fundamental rights of every American. It's essential to our functioning as a free society, as are all the liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights...
“As president, I'll honor the right of decent law abiding citizens to own and use firearms in defense of their families, their property and for all other lawful purposes, including the common defense.”
“The Second Amendment protects the individual right of lawful citizens to keep and bear arms. I strongly support this essential freedom and I applaud the recent federal appeals court decision in Washington, D.C., which concluded that the Second Amendment protects an individualized right to keep and bear arms. As President, I will support that interpretation and protect the right of every law abiding American to keep and use firearms. With respect to gun control laws, I believe we need to distinguish between law abiding gun owners and criminals who use guns. Those who use a firearm during the commission of a crime must be punished severely. The key is to provide law enforcement with the resources they need and punish criminals, not burden lawful gun owners.” (Mitt Romney)
“I'll ask Congress to repeal the McCain-Fiengold law which sought to impose restrictions on the First Amendment rights of groups like the NRA to advocate for issues we care about. Some parts have already been declared unconstitutional. We ought to get rid of the entire bill.
“Finally, let me say that one of the most active fronts in the fight to preserve our Second Amendment rights today is being waged in the courts. Lawsuits have been filed seeking to take away the individual's right to bear arms. We have to look no further than the Parker case. I hope the Roberts court takes the Parker case and upholds the Bill of Rights to protect gun owners everywhere. I've made it clear that I'll appoint judges who believe in strictly interpreting the Constitution, judges in the mold of Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas. It's simply wrong for judges to legislate from the bench. They should follow the law in the Constitution, not make new law.
“And I know that good judges aren't our only defense in the courts. We need tort reform as well. That's the way we fight the back door attempt to ban guns by bankrupting manufacturers.
“The right to bear arms is the cornerstone of our personal freedoms.
“It's a constitutional guarantee passed down to us by the founders.
“And it helps keep us the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Speaking to members of the National Rifle Association, he continued:
“The message of my campaign is that we need to strengthen America. We need a stronger military, stronger families and a stronger economy. The work you do helps keep America strong. Thank you, may God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.”
W POST: “Do you think tighter restrictions should be in place for those buying a firearm?”
ROMNEY: “No. I believe we need to focus on enforcing our current laws rather than creating new laws that burden lawful gun owners. I believe in safe and responsible gun ownership and that anyone who exercises the right to keep and bear arms must do so lawfully and properly. I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all federal approach to gun ownership because people keep and use firearms for different reasons. Law-abiding citizens have a right to protect their homes and their families and as President, I will vigorously defend that right.”
“ "When it comes to protecting the Second Amendment, I do not support any new gun laws including any new ban on semi-automatic firearms. As President, I will follow President Bush's precedent of opposing any laws that go beyond the restrictions in place when I take office. The laws I do and will support include decades-old restrictions on weapons of unusual lethality like grenades, rocket launchers, fully automatic firearms and what are legally known as destructive devices and would include similar restrictions on new and exotic weapons of similar or even greater lethality. I am proud of my record of defending life and the Second Amendment."
“Governor Romney has stated that he would not reinstate that Assault Weapons Ban. In fact, Governor Romney does not support any new gun laws including a ban on semi-automatic firearms. He would consider limitations on weapons of unusual lethality like grenades, rocket launchers, fully automatic firearms and what are legally known as destructive weapons.”
After many actions threatening gun rights, including the "Fast and Furious" scandal and supporting a UN gun-control treaty that would restrict American gun ownership, Obama shows his hand for a 2nd term.
“The actions of President Barack Obama have harmed the Second Amendment for generations to come. He has appointed two anti-gun nominees to the Supreme Court--one of whom has already signed an opinion saying that law-abiding Americans do not have an individual right to own firearms. Obama's administration worked on a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that would undermine our Second Amendment rights, and he has helped cover up the deadly Operation Fast and Furious scandal, arming Mexican drug cartels that continue to kill countless innocent American and Mexican citizens. He has also said that the ability of lawful citizens to carry a firearm for personal protection should be banned nationwide. As a state legislator, he opposed a law to protect people who use guns in their own homes for self-defense; endorsed a total ban on the manufacturing, sale and possession of all handguns; and supported a 500 percent increase in federal taxes on guns and ammunition. America's 100 million gun owners justifiably fear that a second Obama term, unaccountable to the voters, would bring an all-out assault on the Second Amendment.”
“ 'I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not on the streets of our cities,' Obama said.
“Barack Obama has addressed the issue of gun control for the first time since the Colorado film premiere shootings, appealing for "a consensus around violence reduction" and suggesting assault rifles "belong on the battlefield".
“The president's comments came as the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the US did not need new gun laws and argued that "changing the heart of the American people" might be the way to avoid future tragedy instead.”
(Compare with one of Ron Paul's most recent 2nd amendment votes.)
“NRA-ILA would like to spotlight the passage of H.R. 5552 – the Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act, and specially applaud the efforts and leadership shown by the bill’s sponsors — Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) for sponsoring companion bill S. 632 in the U.S. Senate.
“NRA-backed H.R. 5552 passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent on August 5, after passing the U.S. House by a 412-6 vote on June 29...
“ “Firearm and ammunition manufacturers were unfairly mandated to pay their excise taxes biweekly while all other manufacturers paid their taxes quarterly. This was an undue burden on the industry. In addition to being equitable, the change to a quarterly excise tax payment schedule will allow manufacturers to reinvest funds into researching and developing new products, purchasing new manufacturing machinery and creating jobs without establishing a new tax, adding to the burgeoning federal deficit, or using any bailout money.”
“The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that this legislation will create a net revenue increase of $4 million over 10 years. Accordingly, the bill will increase funding for wildlife conservation through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund...
“This legislation will neither raise taxes nor exempt firearm and ammunition manufacturers from paying federal excise taxes into the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund.”
“The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, hailed yesterday’s passage of the Firearms Excise Tax Improvement Act of 2010 (H.R. 5552) by unanimous consent in the Senate.
“The bill passed the House of Representatives at the end of June by a vote of 412-6. The House bill was sponsored by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). The Senate bill (S. 632) was sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and had 30 cosponsors, including lead co-sponsor Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) who co-chairs the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.
“This legislation corrects a longstanding inequity in the Internal Revenue Code by permitting firearm and ammunition manufacturers to pay the federal excise tax payment on a quarterly basis, just as other industries that support conservation through a federal excise tax do. Currently, firearms and ammunition manufacturers pay this tax on a bi-weekly schedule, forcing many manufacturers to borrow money to ensure on-time payment. Industry members spend thousands of staff-hours administering the necessary paperwork to successfully complete the bi-weekly tax payments—monies that are due to the federal government long before manufacturers are paid by their customers.
“Importantly, HR 5552 pays for itself and does not add to the budget deficit. Nor does the bill lower the amount of conservation dollars collected by lowering the tax rate. It simply adjusts the payment schedule to a quarterly period...
“Passage of HR 5552 would not have been possible without the hard work of many organizations, including a broad coalition of more than 35 conservation groups that are members of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners. This coalition includes the National Rifle Association, Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club International and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, which made passage of this bill a priority.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies also supported this legislation as did the Internal Revenue Service-Tax and Trade Bureau, which collects the excise tax. There is no organized opposition to this legislation.”
“Switching to a quarterly excise tax payment system would allow manufacturers to reinvest funds into researching and developing new products, purchasing new manufacturing machinery, and most importantly creating jobs. In addition, since proceeds from the excise taxes are used for conservation, the growth of the industry expected upon passage of the legislation would increase funding for conservation efforts...
“ “Correcting this inequity will not only help the firearms and ammunition industry remain competitive in the global market, but will also promote increasingly vital conservation efforts,” said CSF Vice President of Policy Gary Kania.”
Every year that Gov. Romney was in office he worked for and signed at least one pro-second amendment/pro-sportsmen bill into law. These actions were done in support of and in collaboration with the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), and its affiliate, the Gun Owner's Action League (GOAL):
“Governor Mitt Romney (R) will sign into law a bill that restores the Inland Fish and Game Fund and the Wildlands Stamp Program. The bill also provides additional funds to keep open fish hatcheries that had been scheduled for closure... A special thanks to the Gun Owners Action League and those of you who contacted your elected officials urging final passage of this legislation.”
“Representing the greatest set of firearm law reforms since the passage of the Commonwealth`s worst in the nation gun laws, S.2367 is a breath of fresh air for law abiding gun owners...
“S.2367 [a senate bill that became Chapter 150 once signed into law] does the following:
Instructs the Executive Director of the Criminal History Systems Board to make the Firearms Identification Card and the License To Carry a Firearm the same size as a driver`s license;
Changes the term of a Firearms Identification Card and a License to Carry to six years;
Creates a grace period of 90 days, if the Firearms Identification Card or License to Carry holder applies for renewal before the expiration date, and if the application for renewal is not denied;
Creates a Firearms Licensing Review Board. Applicants disqualified by a misdemeanor record, from obtaining a License To Carry or Firearms Identification Card, may file a petition for review of eligibility with the board, five years after conviction, adjudication, commitment, probation or parole;
and in the case where an officer is confiscating the guns of a person with an expired license, requires the officer to provide a written inventory and receipt for all guns.
“NRA members should be very pleased in knowing that their efforts to educate and work with their local representatives and senators resulted in a successful reform action.
“Thanks to you and the Gun Owners` Action League, lawful gun owners can now take advantage of this first set of real reforms in over five years.”
“This week, Governor Mitt Romney (R) signed S.2255, a bill addressing a conflict in Massachusetts law concerning the difference between a loaded and unloaded muzzleloading shotgun or rifle...
“The bill contained an "emergency preamble". Under normal circumstances a bill does not become law until 90 days after the governor signs it. With the emergency preamble, the bill became law immediately. On behalf of our members, we would like to thank the Gun Owners Action League as well as Senator Stephen Brewer (D-Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Worcester) and Representative George Peterson (R-Worcester-9) for their special efforts in seeing this bill through the legislative process in time for the upcoming muzzleloader season.”
“In November 2005, Governor Romney signed legislation... simplifying the gun laws in Massachusetts... Hunters now no longer face the lengthy, complex and unnecessary task of cleaning the barrel every time they encounter a public way, nor will they unknowingly violate the law by only removing a gun's priming device.
“GOAL Executive Director James Wallace: "This new law addresses a conflict that had previously caused great concern in those who use traditional muzzle loading rifles and shotguns. Now they confidently know what is expected of them and can enjoy their heritage without the fear of being prosecuted for violating a poorly written law." ”
“Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney today signed legislation aimed at providing one clear definition of a loaded shotgun or rifle for the state`s hunting enthusiasts. For years, two competing definitions have existed on the books, leaving law abiding gun owners wondering when and how they can enter or cross a public way with their firearms.”
“Governor Romney supported and signed into law legislation that clarified the term "loaded gun" so that hunters wouldn't have to unload their guns every time they crossed a public road in pursuit of game.”
“Chapter 137 of the Acts of 2005: An Act Relative to a Loaded Shotgun or Rifle
“Prior to this bill passing there were two different laws on the books in Massachusetts that defined what a loaded muzzle loader was. This bill corrected the language in the laws so that now both provide that if the priming device is removed, the muzzle loader is considered unloaded. Although this bill sounds like a “no brainer” it took nearly 5 years to pass.”
“On July 26, Governor Mitt Romney (R) signed H. 4552, which makes exemptions for the makers of customized target pistols, who, due to a provision within state law, have found it increasingly difficult to do business in Massachusetts...
“This common-sense change to the law will enable target pistol manufacturers to do business in the state and allow enthusiasts to practice their sport.”
“Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has signed legislation that now requires all new hunters to successfully pass a basic hunter education course as a prerequisite for purchasing a hunting license... The legislation was proposed by the Worcester County League of Sportsmen and was supported by the Gun Owner’s Action League, and it actually restores a requirement that existed prior to 1998.”
“The Hunter Education bill, S.469, was signed into law by Governor Mitt Romney on July 6, 2006.
“The new law will require that all first time hunters complete a hunter education course prior to being issued a hunting or sporting license. This was already the law prior to very confusing language that was passed in SECTION 7 of Chapter 180 of the Acts of 1998. GOAL successfully had an amendment included to amend the bill to “grandfather” anyone who has been issued a license prior to January 1, 2007.”
Governor Romney worked to prevent and remove anti-gun legislation from being passed by the legislature. His and others efforts, along with his promise of a veto, prevented any anti-gun legislation from being passed by the state legislature during his term in office.
“Legislation: During the Romney Administration, no anti-second amendment or anti-sportsmen legislation made its way to the Governor’s desk...
“His administration also worked with Gun Owners’ Action League and the Democratic leadership of the Massachusetts House and Senate to remove any anti-second amendment language from the Gang Violence bill passed in 2006. A summary of this legislation follows...
“Chapter 48 of the Acts of 2006: An Act Reducing Gang Violence (Section 6 – committing or concealing a crime) ... there were several anti-second amendment sections in the original draft. The legislative sponsors of the bill, GOAL, and the Romney administration all worked together to remove any bad sections. We were successful in doing so and actually came up with some new language that more affectively went after the criminal element.”
“We had an effort in Massachusetts on the part of some to ban 50 caliber rifles. I opposed that, indicated I would oppose that ban. You know, I think we have to be very careful in any way restricting Second Amendment rights.” (Mitt Romney)
GROVER NORQUIST from the board of directors of the NRA:
“Guns and Romney. Romney's position on guns is flawless ... I went and worked with the governor back when the D's were planning on passing a restriction on 50 caliber rifles in Massachusetts. And he committed to me that he would oppose any restrictions… his position is fine.”
Proclamations: “During his administration, Governor Romney issued a proclamation declaring May 7, 2005 as “The Right to Bear Arms Day”. The proclamation was issued on this date to coincide with GOAL’s Annual Banquet.”
"I also designated May 7 as “The Right to Bear Arms Day” in Massachusetts to honor “the right of decent, law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms in defense of their families, persons, and property and for all lawful purposes, including the common defense.” "
Appointments: “One of the agencies that GOAL [Gun Owners’ Action League] watches very closely is the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife... Governor Romney made five appointments to this board [of seven people]. All of the individuals appointed to the board were supported by GOAL.”
Budgetary, Regulations and Fees:
The governor tried to hold the legislature down on the amount of license fee increases they made, but they increased the fees by 50% more than he proposed. He then used his executive powers to provide free replacement of firearms licenses and successfully worked with gun-rights groups to get legislation that increased the term of the licenses by 50%. He also waived other gun related fees.
Also, after a political foo-paw, he was able to not only restore funding to the fish and game fund, but increase funding to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, and also use capital revenue to acquire land for the division. All these actions were supported by and beneficial to gun owners and their represented gun-rights groups.
The following explains that Governor Romney was:
“able to restore the Fund and increase the money released from it to better manage the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Over the next three years, GOAL was also successful in getting some “capital revenue” released to acquire land for the Division.
“Regulations: During his administration, the Executive Office of Public Safety passed a new regulation providing free replacement of firearm licenses to those who had them stolen or lost. (A resident license fee in Massachusetts at that time was $100 every 6 years.) Prior to this new regulation a citizen would have to repeat the entire application process and pay the whole fee to acquire a replacement license...
“Fees: In 2003 Governor Romney filed budgetary language to raise firearm license fees from $25 to $75. That year the legislature actually raised them to $100 in the General Appropriations bill (Section 34 of Chapter 140 of the Acts of 2003). At that time a resident license was good for 4 years. In 2004 a law was passed increasing the license term to 6 years.
“In 2005, Governor Romney waived the administrative fees for the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Fund. The state currently charges these fees that were as much as 36% a year. Gun Owners’ Action League worked with environmental organizations to urge the Governor to temporarily waive the fees until permanent legislation could be passed to do away with the fees all together...
“Passed a new regulation providing free replacement of firearm licenses.”
“As governor I worked closely with the NRA and The Gun Owners Action League to advance legislation that expanded the rights of gun owners in my state. And my door was always open to you, and that will continue to be the case if I am elected president.
“Together we reduced burdensome bureaucratic regulations. We made it easier for people to exercise their constitutional rights.” (Mitt Romney)
MYTH #1 - Signed anti-gun legislation creating assault weapons ban:
This is a myth propagated by the Boston Globe and other main-stream media outlets.
Regarding the legislation the myth refers to, the NRA declared:
“Here are just some of the points that the media (including The Boston Globe) got wrong...
“Myth: The gun ban was extended... “Myth: The legislature somehow "won over" gun-rights supporters by including reforms.
“Fact: NRA and Gun owners` Action League (GOAL) had made it very clear to the legislature that we would not give up any ground. NRA and GOAL supported this bill because it did not ban any guns, and because it made much-needed reforms.”
Massachusetts oldest, largest and premier pro-second amendment/gun rights group, Gun owners` Action League (GOAL) stated:
“The bill was the greatest victory for gun owners since the passage of the gun control laws in 1998 (Chapter 180 of the Acts of 1998). It was a reform bill totally supported by GOAL. Press and media stories around the country got it completely wrong when claimed the bill was an extension of the “assault weapon” ban that had sunset at the federal level. They could not have been more wrong. Unfortunately for the Governor, someone had also wrongly briefed him about the bill. As a result the Lt. Governor and the Governor made statements at the bill signing ceremony that angered GOAL members.”
In 1998, Massachusetts passed a very restrictive, PERMANENT assault weapons ban along with many other very restrictive gun-control measures.
Romney worked for and signed a new law that undid significant aspects of that restrictive old gun-control law.
Gov Romney didn't have the votes to completely undo the permanent Massachusetts gun-ban, so he signed a new law that could be considered modifying the old assault weapons ban making it less restrictive, or could be considered a new assault weapons ban that was less restrictive and that gave more gun rights.
In the first few months of 2007, Governor Romney described his exposure to hunting:
He made the statements that he hunts, that he is an infrequent hunter, but has hunted from the time he was a teenager up to a recent hunting trip the previous year. His hunting consisted of only shooting small animals such as rabbits, rodents and birds.
Two examples of statements include:
"A campaign spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, said Mr. Romney had gone hunting repeatedly during his teenage summer at the ranch. Mr. Romney has also shot small game on his Utah property, said Mr. Fehrnstrom".
"Here‘s what Mitt Romney said the other day about his hunting career: “The report that I only hunted twice is incorrect. I‘ve hunted small game numerous times, as a young man and as an adult. I‘m by no means a big game hunter. I‘m more Jed Clampett than Teddy Roosevelt.” "
The reason this myth got mileage is due to misrepresentations by the Boston Globe.
It chose to selectively interpret the mention of when he first hunted and most recently hunted as meaning he hunted only twice, in spite of several statements he made to the contrary, and corrections he continued to make to that Globe report. Then, based on the governor considering himself to be a hunter "pretty much all my life" but "not frequently", the Globe spread misinformation that Romney claimed to be a big-time, life-long hunter yet had only hunted two times. The AP carried the story over the news wires, and it received widespread coverage in many magazines and news outlets.
Below is a thorough list of quotes with links of what he said and related reporting:
As his record shows and his platform states, Gov. Romney believes in protecting gun rights.
However, the Boston Globe and others opposed to Romney have tried to claim he has flip-flopped on gun issues. This is yet another untrue myth.
As usual, these efforts are made through misrepresenting his record, such as is referenced in Myth #1, or ignoring his record and misrepresenting what he has said, such as is explained in the following example.
When Romney ran for governor, he was opposed to new gun control and democrats criticized him for that:
“Republican Mitt Romney and running mate Kerry Healey rolled out a crime-fighting plan yesterday that would lock up dangerous sexual predators "forever," take away judges' lifetime appointments and reinstate the death penalty.
“But Democrats immediately seized on Romney's plan as a complete flop since it failed to address the recent spike in urban gun violence...
“Karen Grant, spokeswoman for former state Sen. Warren E. Tolman said, "How could a serious candidate for governor issue a criminal justice proposal without any mention of gun control given the increasing gun violence?" ”
After Romney was politically attacked for not being in favor of new gun-control, he was asked if he was in favor of the gun-control passed in the previous five years. He said no.
Panelist: “Massachusetts recently passed what was advertised as the most restrictive gun-ownership law in the country...”
Romney: “Well, I likewise did not support that legislation... I likewise support the right of law abiding citizens to be able to purchase firearms for hunting purposes and target practice and so forth. We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won't chip away at them. I believe they help protect us and provide for our safety, but I want our law abiding citizens likewise to have the right to purchase and use a weapon for hunting and other purposes.” (42:25 minutes into debate)
Romney demonstrated he was sincere in not supporting the then recently enacted gun-control laws and in wanting citizens to be able to buy and use weapons, by working for and signing legislation that the NRA called "the greatest set of firearm law reforms since the passage of the Commonwealth's worst in the nation gun laws," and "a breath of fresh air for law abiding gun owners." (NRA-ILA)
However, in the above quote, under criticism for being too pro-gun (for example the anti-gun groups were against him), in the most liberal and least gun-friendly state in the country, he did moderate his answer by indicating he would not try to undermine the gun laws in general (ie- the earlier laws), which he acknowledged were strict.
But unscrupulous bloggers and groups prefer to only give a partial quote to that debate answer then take it out of context, ignore or misrepresent his record and other campaign facts, and claim he was anti-gun.
The following section looks at quotes he made in the 2008 presidential campaign, 2002 gubernatorial campaign, and 1994 senatorial campaign, to demonstrate he has had a similar and consistent campaign view. The section examines his campaign statements on the following subjects:
• The NRA
• The Brady Law
• The Assault Weapon Ban
• On Punishing Crime/enforcing the law vs. new gun-control
“GOAL [Gun Owners’ Action League] had more access to this administration than any other since the days of Governor Ed King in 1979... senior level Romney staffers met on a monthly basis with GOAL’s Executive Director to discuss and work on any issues relevant to GOAL’s members. This should not be taken as an indication that GOAL “controlled” the corner office, but rather that a very good working relationship was developed that benefited both parties.
“During the Romney Administration, no anti-second amendment or anti-sportsmen legislation made its way to the Governor’s desk.
“Governor Romney did sign five pro-second amendment/pro-sportsmen bills into law.”
“Gun Owners’ Action League is the official state firearms association in Massachusetts...
“GOAL works hard to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights against those in Massachusetts who wish to infringe upon the freedoms guaranteed by our forefathers...
“We were formed in 1974 to protect the right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are recognized as the state's premier gun rights association...
“Every intrusion on our gun rights is an intrusion on all rights. The Constitutional rights and freedoms that you enjoy - and may take for granted - are becoming more fragile each day. Secure your rights for yourself, your family and future generations...
“Gun Owners’ Action League is a grassroots organization whose members actively participate in the many facets of protecting our Second Amendment rights and passing on the shooting sports traditions...
“GOAL publishes materials to bring the truth about gun ownership to the public, the legislature and our members. We also promote public education and junior shooting opportunities through our 501(c)3 sister organization, The GOAL Foundation.”