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MYTH #1 - CREATED/EXTENDED ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN:

This is a myth that was propagated by the Boston Globe, picked up by other media outlets and spread from there.

Below, both the NRA and the oldest, largest and premier pro-second amendment/gun rights group in the state of Massachusetts bust the myth:

Gun Owners’ Action League

Gun Owners’ Action League — The Romney Record

* It should be noted for readers of this report that are not familiar with Massachusetts politics that the titles of the legislation do not always reflect the intent. For instance the bill entitled “An Act Further Regulating Certain Weapons” was actually a pro-second amendment bill that began the process of reforming the state’s gun laws...

CHAPTER 150 OF THE ACTS OF 2004:
An Act Further Regulating Certain Weapons

(You can read the actual bill on the Massachusetts government website by clicking here: mass.gov - Laws - Chapter 150)

“This is a perfect example of don’t believe in titles. 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. The following is what the bill actually did:

1.      Established the Firearm License Review Board (FLRB). The 1998 law created new criteria for disqualifying citizens for firearms licenses that included any misdemeanor punishable by more than two years even if no jail time was ever served.

         
For instance, a first conviction of operating a motor vehicle under the influence would result in the loss of your ability to own a handgun for life and long guns for a minimum of five years. This Board is now able to review cases under limited circumstances to restore licenses to individuals who meet certain criteria.

2.      Mandated that a minimum of $50,000 of the licensing fees be used for the operation of the FLRB so that the Board would not cease operating under budget cuts.

3.      Extended the term of the state’s firearm licenses from 4 years to 6 years.

4.      Permanently attached the federal language concerning assault weapon exemptions in 18 USC 922 Appendix A to the Massachusetts assault weapons laws. This is the part that the media misrepresented.

         
In 1998 the Massachusetts legislature passed its own assault weapons ban (MGL Chapter 140, Section 131M). This ban did not rely on the federal language and contained no sunset clause. Knowing that we did not have the votes in 2004 to get rid of the state law, we did not want to lose all of the federal exemptions that were not in the state law so this new bill was amended to include them.

5.      Re-instated a 90 day grace period for citizens who were trying to renew their firearm license. Over the past years, the government agencies in charge had fallen months behind in renewing licenses. At one point it was taking upwards of a year to renew a license. Under Massachusetts law, a citizen cannot have a firearm or ammunition in their home with an expired license.


Remarks to the NRA in 2011 (2:08)
(His remark at the end might refer to this: youtube)

Remarks to the NRA in 2009
(Click for full-screen)

Remarks to the NRA in 2008   
(Click for full-screen)

Remarks to the NRA in 2007
(Click for full-screen)



6.      Mandated that law enforcement must issue a receipt for firearms that are confiscated due to an expired license. Prior to this law, no receipts were given for property confiscated which led to accusations of stolen or lost firearms after they were confiscated by police.

7.      Gave free license renewal for law enforcement officers who applied through their employing agency.

8.      Changed the size and style of a firearm license to that of a driver’s license so that it would fit in a normal wallet. The original license was 3” x 4”.

9.      Created stiffer penalties for armed home invaders.”

NRA Institute for Legislative Action
   

Massachusetts —
Firearms Reform Bill Sent to the Governor`s Desk

“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.

“Despite the efforts of some (including The Boston Globe) to spin this bill as an extension of or creation of a new "Assault Weapons" ban, the bill makes no net changes to the Commonwealth`s laws regarding those types of firearms...

“Here are just some of the points that the media (including The Boston Globe) got wrong.

“Myth: Some headlines claimed that the legislature voted to expand the ban on the sale of the same 19 guns that the federal government has banned.

“Fact: The guns are already banned in Massachusetts. The legislature only voted to clarify the definition of so-called "assault weapons," but made no changes to the number of guns included.

“Myth: The gun ban was extended.

“Fact: Our state`s gun ban was not due to disappear, nor will it become invalid if the federal ban sunsets in September.

“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.

“Myth: Those legislators that wanted to expand the semi-auto gun ban claimed that they "spearheaded" S.2367.

“...

“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.”

WHAT GUN BAN?

"Don’t be confused by the media headlines about so-called “assault weapons.” Our state ban was not “extended,” either in time or in scope. Our state ban was never set to disappear if the federal law sunsets in September.

"This new law takes existing references to the federal definition of “assault weapons” and added the words “as appearing in September 1994.” Since that was the original legislative intent of our state’s gun ban, the bill changes nothing. In fact, by adding the date reference, GOAL protected the list of nearly 700 guns which are exempt under current federal law."

(archived page — original link expired)

More from the NRA on the 2004 firearms reform law, and one of its supporters:

“When Scott Brown, a little-known Republican state senator from Massachusetts, won the special election for the U.S. Senate seat held for nearly half a century by Sen. Ted Kennedy, he made national news—and with good reason...

“As a state lawmaker, Brown had received an "A" rating from the NRA Political Victory Fund in every election since 2000. He introduced and supported important pro-gun reform legislation, and he prevailed in a political climate that is generally hostile to our Second Amendment rights...

“Brown's vote for the Reform Act of 2004 meant that the state could not expand its "assault weapons" roster to include guns made before 1994. It also extended firearm licenses from four to six years, and created a 90-day grace period.”

As noted above, "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."  Governor Romney, who "admitted that he was not a firearms expert" but had made it known he believed in the rights of people to responsibly own firearms, was misinformed that the weapons still banned were unusually dangerous and lethal, but accurately knew that the bill was supported by the pro-gun lobby that he supported.

Dishonest individuals and groups have widely published the governor's misinformed statement without being truthful to the public that the bill was pro-gun legislation that lessened (though not eliminated) previous gun-control legislation, and that although the governor was misinformed about some aspects of the bill, that he also understood it was a pro-gun bill with many pro-gun provisions and supported by the pro-gun lobby. They intentionally deceive their audience by stating the opposite then only providing partial information to support their deception. In the same press-release as his misinformed statement and information, the governor also reported to the public in his press-release:

"The new law also makes a number of improvements to the current gun licensing system, including:

•      

Extending the term of a firearm identification card and a license to carry firearms from four years to six years;

•      

Granting a 90-day grace period for holders of firearm identification cards and licenses to carry who have applied for renewal; and

•      

Creating a seven-member Firearm License Review Board to review firearm license applications that have been denied.

" “This is truly a great day for Massachusetts’ sportsmen and women,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer. “These reforms correct some serious mistakes that were made during the gun debate in 1998, when many of our state’s gun owners were stripped of their long-standing rights to own firearms. I applaud Senate President Travaglini for allowing the Senate to undertake this necessary legislation.”

" “I want to congratulate everyone that has worked so hard on this issue,” said Representative George Peterson. “Because of their dedication, we are here today to sign into law this consensus piece of legislation. This change will go a long way toward fixing the flaws created by the 1998 law. Another key piece to this legislation addresses those citizens who have applied for renewals. If the government does not process their renewal in a timely fashion, those citizens won't be put at risk because of the 90 day grace period that is being adopted today.” "

The solid pro second amendment group Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) explained:

“In the first months of the Romney administration the Governor isolated himself to all but a handful of close advisors most of whom came from the business community. This caused the Governor to make some rather serious political missteps that could have been avoided through better communications. However, relations dramatically improved and in the end, GOAL had more access to this administration than any other since the days of Governor Ed King in 1979.

“The two major events that eventually led to this improved relationship were the raid on the Inland Fisheries & Game Fund in 2003 and a botched press conference/bill signing in 2004. Both situations are outlined in this report.

“While at the time these events greatly angered GOAL members, the result was much improved access to the Governor’s office and his staff. During the following years, 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.”

After meeting with pro-second amendment experts and becoming more knowledgeable, he now understands the highly lethal weapons (compared to commonly owned firearms such as semi-automatic hunting rifles), which he wants to keep off the streets, were banned long ago:

“ "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."

“Dec. 30, 2007 Mitt Romney”

Governor Romney has had more of a layman's view of what an 'assault weapon' is.

For example, when asked about assault weapons, he has talked of high caliber rifles (which he opposes banning) and machine guns (which he favors maintaining a ban on).

(Assault weapons as defined in the 1994 ban were semi-automatic firearms, which in general had a detachable magazine and two or more of certain features including flash suppressors or folding stocks. Machine guns and rocket launchers, which were banned long ago anyway, are not defined as assault weapons in the 1994 law. The caliber of a firearm is not a determining factor on if a weapon is an assault rifle. The 1994 law has come to define what gun enthusiasts have come to consider an assault weapon.)

“Can you tell me if an assault weapons ban came up at the federal level, would you sign or veto that? ... if the '94 one came up for vote again.

“ROMNEY: Well obviously, we've learned some things since then. I haven't seen the specific proposal at this stage and so I couldn't comment on it until we had. 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. I support the Second Amendment. We've got a gun at our house, it's owned by my son. I've hunted since I was a young man. I believe that people have the right to bear arms. But I also recognize that there's some types of weapons that don't need to be in the public's hands, machine guns certainly, and I'd be open to consider appropriate kind of measures, but I'm not looking for blanket kind of prohibitions on people being able to have arms for their defense.”

Therefore, early in 2007 when asked about support of an assault weapons ban he stated clear support for the second amendment but he also expressed support for an assault weapon ban as he understood it (keeping machine guns and rocket launchers and such off the streets).

MR. WALLACE: ... And As governor you signed into law one of the toughest restrictions on assault weapons in the country. Are you a clear and consistent conservative?

MR. ROMNEY:  Well, let's get the record straight. First of all, there's no question that I support Second Amendment rights, but I also support an assault weapon ban. And in the -- with regards to gay rights, I have always been somebody who opposes discrimination. But I also consistently feel that it's critical to have marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.

Look, I've been governor in a pretty tough state. You've heard of blue states. If you ever bought a suit and you look at it and you can't tell if it's blue or black, that's how blue Massachusetts is. And in that state I've had to stand up for life, and I have. I've had to stand up for traditional marriage, and I have.

In that very difficult state, I stood to make sure that we could have English immersion in our schools, because I think kids should be taught in English. I fought for the death penalty. I fought for abstinence education.

In the toughest of states, I made the toughest decisions and did what was right for America. I have conservative values.

He has since learned the terminology the gun-rights movement uses for assault weapons, and better articulates his views, using that terminology.

He has also reiterated his position:

“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. (NBC's "Meet The Press," 12/16/07; CNN's "The Situation Room," 11/26/07; The Des Moines Register, 10/23/07)”

MYTH #2 - HUNTED ONLY TWICE IN HIS LIFE:

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. He said the only animals hunted were small game such as rabbits, rodents and birds.

The Boston Globe, known for misrepresenting his record and statements, 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.

It released an article onto newswires, and the story was carried by the AP and picked up by many news organizations, including some referenced below, indicating he only hunted twice.

Media outlets and bloggers ever since have continued to propagate and expand false reports (often unwittingly) that he has only hunted two times in his life.

Below are recorded quotes of what he actually said:

“Glenn: Well, let's turn to your position on guns and the second amendment...

“Mitt: I believe in the constitution. And I believe in all the amendments of the constitution.

“I firmly believe in a person's right to bear arms. I have a gun of my own. I go hunting myself.”

Play  Glenn and Helen Show - Jan 10, 2007
Play

“Romney described himself as an outdoorsman, but admitted that he was not a firearms expert.

“ "As a boy, I worked on a ranch in Idaho and shot rabbits with a single shot .22 rifle," Romney said. "After a while my cousin said 'you're not very good at that. Try using this semiautomatic.'" ” (Eventually he got 'pretty good' with a single shot.)

“I've been a hunter all my life, not frequently, but as a boy, when I worked on a ranch in Idaho, we used to go out shooting rabbits, because they were eating all the barley, and I got pretty good with a single shot .22 rifle, and been quail hunting more recently.

“So I'm a hunter and believe in Second Amendment rights...”

Friday, April 6, 2007
“INDIANAPOLIS -- Campaigning in Indianapolis on Thursday, Romney said he has hunted small game since his youth.

“ "I'm not a big-game hunter. I've made that very clear," he said. "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times."

“In Keene, N.H., on Tuesday, Romney had said: "I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life." ....

“Campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said Wednesday that Romney wasn't trying to mislead anyone, and he promoted Romney's support of gun-ownership rights.”

"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, who added that he did not know how often...

"In any event, the spokesman said, the candidate’s support for gun rights comes not from any hunting background but rather “from his respect and appreciation for the rights enshrined in our Constitution.”

" “He fundamentally understands the Second Amendment does more than protect the rights of hunters,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said. “It protects the rights of all Americans to bear arms, to protect themselves and their property.” "

"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.” "

“He said he had hunted rabbits and other small animals for many years, mainly in Utah. Hunting certain small game there does not require a license...

“Officials from Michigan, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, where a license is necessary to hunt such small game, said they could not immediately locate any license for Romney. An official in Utah said a change in state law last year blocked public access to license records.”

“Romney insisted he has hunted small animals for many years”

MYTH #3 - FLIP-FLOPPED ON GUN-RIGHTS PHILOSOPHY:

As his record shows and his platform states, Gov. Romney believes in protecting gun rights.

However, he has never been in favor of the unrestricted, unpunished use of guns by criminals, or in an unregulated firearms industry-- so he has supported existing laws, but he has not been in favor of new gun regulations or laws.

Press reports, individuals and groups have tried to argue that he has changed his position by only comparing statements made in the past on where he draws the line, with only statements or actions from the present that demonstrate he is for gun rights.

This section gives examples showing he has similar if not the same views now as then and that he has always believed in gun rights.

(It can be argued that he changed his emphasis without changing his views. It would make no sense to go around acting like Bo Gritz [a very outspoken progun candidate who got few votes even in pro-gun areas] while trying to win an election in Massachusetts. While the emphasis, and sometimes even the tone, has at times differed, his platform and views have been surprisingly consistent when covering such a long period of time.)

ON THE NRA

2008 Presidential Campaign:

“I believe people have a right to bear arms under the Constitution. I don't support entirely every aspect that the NRA might put forward, but I joined the NRA because I support their objectives overall...”

“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.”

“I don't line up 100 percent with the NRA. I don't see eye to eye with the NRA on every issue.”

1994 Senatorial Campaign:

“In 1994, he said: "I don't line up with the NRA." ”

"In an interview with the Boston Herald during the 1994 campaign, Romney positioned himself as a moderate outsider, warning special interest groups to stay out of the race... “That’s not going to make me the hero of the NRA,” he said at the time. “I don’t line up with a lot of special interest groups.” "

ON THE BRADY BILL

2008 Presidential Campaign:

“The Brady Bill has changed over time, and, of course, technology has changed over time.

“We have a background check. That's the key thing. I support background checks to, to--for people who are going into a store or whatever and buying a weapon, I want them to have a background check to make sure that the crazies don't buy guns.

“The current Brady Bill is a different measure than the original. The original had a waiting period because it took a long time to check on people's backgrounds. Today we can check instantly on backgrounds. I don't want to cause a waiting period that's not necessary based upon today's technology. But my position is we should check on the backgrounds of people who are trying to purchase guns... 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 either for their own personal protection or hunting or any other lawful purpose.”

1994 Senatorial Campaign:

“The candidate reiterated his support for ... 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...

“Romney said his major crime initiatives are: making individuals responsible for lawless behavior; tougher enforcement; attacking the roots of crime with welfare reform and programs stressing values and ethics.”

Note— USA Today reported on the NRA's view one month before the bill passed: “ "We already support 65% of the Brady bill, because it moves to an instant check, which is what we want," says the NRA's Jim Baker.” (USAToday.com - 5 years later, backers of Brady bill hopeful - Oct 26, 1993) Gun Owners of America (GOA) rated many congressmen who voted for Brady measures as: "Pro-Gun Voter. Philosophically sound. Always with pro-gun movement but takes no leadership role". (GOA candidate ratings related to Brady measures).

The Brady bill was passed one year before Romney ran for office. He was asked his opinion of it after concessions were made to the NRA and A-rated pro-gun congressmen had supported background checks and waiting periods. He expressed mild support, indicating he didn't expect it to make much impact, then went on to present his own crime bill proposal which had no gun control.

ON ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN

2008 Presidential Campaign:

“Can you tell me if an assault weapons ban came up at the federal level, would you sign or veto that? ... if the '94 one came up for vote again.

“ROMNEY: Well obviously, we've learned some things since then. I haven't seen the specific proposal at this stage and so I couldn't comment on it until we had. 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. I support the Second Amendment. We've got a gun at our house, it's owned by my son. I've hunted since I was a young man. I believe that people have the right to bear arms. But I also recognize that there's some types of weapons that don't need to be in the public's hands, machine guns certainly, and I'd be open to consider appropriate kind of measures, but I'm not looking for blanket kind of prohibitions on people being able to have arms for their defense.”

“I signed an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts as 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, but I would, I would look at weapons that pose extraordinary lethality.”

“ "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."

“Dec. 30, 2007 Mitt Romney”

“Like President Bush, Governor Romney Would Have Signed The Assault Weapons Ban Extension At That Time. As Governor Romney stated on CNN and "Meet the Press," had he been President and had the Assault Weapons Ban extension reached his desk, like President Bush, he would have signed it. That bill did not pass Congress. 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. (NBC's "Meet The Press," 12/16/07; CNN's "The Situation Room," 11/26/07; The Des Moines Register, 10/23/07)”

2002 Governor Campaign:

“ "Mitt Romney... He is a supporter of the federal assault weapons ban. Mitt also believes in the rights of those who hunt to responsibly own and use firearms." -Romney campaign statement. Deseret News, Sept. 1, 2002”

The federal assault weapons ban overrode Massachusetts permanent, and more restrictive, 1998 assault weapons ban, legalizing nearly 700 more guns than the Massachusetts law specified (although the main objective of the ban portion of the '98 gun-control law was to ensure the banned guns in the federal legislation would not become legal again when the federal ban expired).

Note: Mitt Romney did not support the 1998 Massachusetts gun control law, but knowing there was not the political support in Massachusetts to remove the law, supported the federal ban that granted more gun rights to Massachusetts citizens. Keeping true to his campaign platform, when the federal ban expired, Governor Romney signed a new law that not only expanded other gun rights, but replaced the more restrictive 1998 gun law with the less restrictive federal provisions. This was lobbied for and celebrated by state gun rights activists.

In the following article, a republican party spokesman editorializes on the 2002 platform:

“A cleverly worded statement that attempts to convey strong convictions on the control of guns in an anti-gun state. Yet it does not commit Romney to the various proposals for gun control... Romney's positions on these highly charged issues are understandable. In politics, it is said, "Where you stand is where you sit." And Romney is running in a state that is very liberal... Nevertheless, Utahns recognize Romney's unusual skills and magnetism. It is likely Massachusetts will too and will elect Romney the next governor of the Bay State.”

1994 Senatorial Campaign:

On the crime bill which passed congress Aug 25th (Crime Bill info) and the Brady law:

“Romney, who supports the crime bill and the waiting period created by the Brady law, said he believes the ban was supported by many police associations.

“But he said a more effective way to limit gun use is to impose mandatory sentences for crimes in which a gun is used.”

(Romney generally took the approach of supporting existing laws and opposing new gun-control, even though he viewed crime punishment a better solution than gun laws.)

Days before the bill was passed by congress, Romney said he would not have voted for it. He was blasted as being too pro-gun:

“Kennedy campaign spokesman Rick Gureghian blasted Romney for opposing the bill... "He should explain to the people of Massachusetts why the National Rifle Association is more important to him than they are." ”

“Although US Sen. Edward M. Kennedy called the House's rejection of the crime bill "a shameful tribute to the National Rifle Association," both of his Republican rivals said yesterday they would have voted against the bill unless it had been significantly altered...

“Kennedy could not be reached for comment. But his campaign spokesman, Rick Gureghian, accused Romney and Lakian of siding with the National Rifle Association, the powerful lobby which opposed the bill.

“ "Romney and Lakian have said no to putting 2,300 more police officers on Massachusetts streets and they've said no to banning assault weapons on our streets," Gureghian said. "By saying they would have voted against this tough anticrime legislation, they have told the people of Massachusetts that the NRA is more important than they are." ”

Earlier, before democrats modified the bill for the worst, Romney had expressed support for the crime bill, including a temporary assault weapons ban, but with reservations:

“The candidate reiterated his support for an assault weapons ban contained in Congress' crime bill... Romney voiced general support for the crime bill currently under debate in Congress, but said he objected to some "excessive" provisions included by some Democrats.”

ON PUNISHING CRIME/ENFORCING LAW VS. NEW GUN CONTROL

2008 Presidential Campaign:

“ "When it comes to protecting the Second Amendment, I do not support any new gun laws including any new ban on semi-automatic firearms... 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."

“Dec. 30, 2007 Mitt Romney”

“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 either for their own personal protection or hunting or any other lawful purpose.”

W POST: “Do you think gun control has an impact on crime rates in the United States?”

ROMNEY: “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.”

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.”

2002 Governor Campaign:

“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...

“The GOP team called for the reinstatement of the death penalty, expanded probation supervision for ex-cons, mandatory treatment and work programs inside prisons, and modernization of the state's inadequate crime lab technology.

“But 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 advertized 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." (see earlier quotes and links)

His campaign platform stated: “ "Mitt Romney supports the strict enforcement of gun laws... Mitt also believes in the rights of those who hunt to responsibly own and use firearms." -Romney campaign statement. Deseret News, Sept. 1, 2002”

1994 Senatorial Campaign:

“The panel, focusing on the issue of crime during the 90-minute exchange, quizzed Romney sharply about what he would do ...

“Romney said his major crime initiatives are: making individuals responsible for lawless behavior; tougher enforcement; attacking the roots of crime with welfare reform and programs stressing values and ethics.”

“[Romney] said a more effective way to limit gun use [in crimes, rather than the recently passed assault weapons ban] is to impose mandatory sentences for crimes in which a gun is used.”

“The two candidates also sparred over the issue of crime, ...

“ "I'm a leader in getting guns off the street in this country," Kennedy said.

“ "Police all across the state support my candidacy because they know I'm tough on crime," Romney responded.”

“Republican US Senate hopeful Mitt Romney yesterday basked in the praise and endorsement of the Boston police union... The high point of Romney's day came when the 1,650-member Boston Police Patrolmen's Association threw its support to him at a Dorchester rally where the officers praised him for his anticrime positions...

“ "If you want to start changing things, we have to send a message out there, and Mitt Romney is the message we have to send," said the union's president, Dick Bradley. In a written statement, Bradley said Romney was "on the right side of the issue we care about. He is for the death penalty, mandatory sentencing, and judges who will be tough on crime." ...

“Romney brushed aside Tsongas' criticism when, several hours later, flanked by 50 men and women in blue, he accepted the police endorsement and pledged to carry their issues to Washington.”

Note: Mitt Romney did not ever propose new gun control laws or measures as a candidate. The crime bill (which included the assault weapons ban) was passed by congress August 25, 1994, months before the November senatorial election, then became law in September. Because Sen. Kennedy, his opponent, "was a leader in passage of the 1994 Crime Act" and it was popular among voters in Massachusetts, he was asked about it after it was passed. As noted above, Romney answered that he supported the crime bill but that he thought a better way to fight crime than to ban guns was to impose mandatory sentences on aggravated crimes using guns. (The crime bill provided funding for nearly 3,000 more police officers in Massachusetts, authorized the Police Corp, which gives college scholarships in return for a commitment to serve as a police officer, etc. but had a temporary assault weapons ban which later expired. Since its passage, Massachusetts crime has gone down nearly 1/3 "due in part to the additional officers and resources provided in the 1994 Crime Bill.")  (Crime Bill info)

Similarly, the Brady bill was passed in November 1993, one year before Romney's campaign. Many congressmen who were afterwards rated A/A- by GOA, supported background checks and waiting periods and kept their rating. Shortly before its passage, the NRA's spokesman had stated "We already support 65% of the Brady bill, because it moves to an instant check, which is what we want". As the law was relatively new, Romney was asked his opinion about it during the campaign. Keeping with his platform of enforcing existing laws rather than create new gun-control (his approach to holding the line on gun-control in an anti-gun state) he said he supported the existing law but didn't think it would have a huge impact on crime. He then explained his initiatives for fighting crime which he thought would have a bigger impact, as noted above, which contained no gun-control. (Brady Bill info)

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For Mitt Romney's actual record as governor, for Massachusetts pro-gun leaders and NRA leaders assessment of Gov. Romney, and for his presidential platform, click here:

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