“There was a time when the right to bear arms was a lot better appreciated in the state that is home to Bunker Hill. (Massachusetts) No one questioned the importance of a responsible, armed citizenry back when Paul Revere was in the saddle and patriots were throwing the king’s tea into Boston Harbor”
“He was never endorsed by the NRA, and didn't have their official support during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign... Mitt Romney as a candidate received a respectable B grade rating from the NRA, ... Romney's Democratic opponent in the governor's race, Shannon O'Brien, was given a more than respectable "A" grade by the NRA, according to its website.
“The issue of guns has repeatedly dogged Romney, who as a U.S. Senate candidate in 1996 was in favor of several gun control measures.”
• Mitt Romney had the NRA's official support in 2002
• The leading gun-control groups endorsed his opponent
• Mitt Romney had the same NRA rating as O'Brien
• But he had a more pro-gun platform
• Mitt Romney was a senate candidate in 1994 — not 1996
• And he was not in favor of any new gun-control legislation
Verification of the facts are as follows:
→ Mitt Romney had the NRA's official support in 2002
"... the group had run a phone bank for him in his race but had not formally endorsed him.
" “Frankly, I didn’t realize the NRA had an official endorsement program that was different than their phone banking for me,” Mr. Romney said today. “The fact that they phone banked and encouraged their members to vote for me I thought qualified for saying they had endorsed me.” ...
" “There’s going to be hyper-scrutiny of each word,” he said. “That’s part of running for president. I’m up to it. You can look at the things I’m saying about my record and about the events of campaign and history and you’ll find if now and then I miss a word or I get something slightly off, I’ll correct it, acknowledge where it’s wrong, but the overall thrust, the overall meaning of the story is very accurate.” "
“ "We checked with them and said, 'OK, you know, what are the signals here, what's the story?' And they said, 'Well, we didn't give you the official endorsement,' but they phone-banked members here in Massachusetts, or in Massachusetts, encouraging them to support my candidacy, so it was, if you will, a support phone bank, which is not an official endorsement." ”
Later, at the end of the interview, Gov. Romney referred to support he received as an endorsement, stating "I told you what my position was, and what I, what I did as governor; the fact that I received the endorsement of the NRA."
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)
“A day after his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Romney told reporters that he had checked with the NRA "and they said, 'Well, we didn't give you the official endorsement,' but they phone-banked members ... in Massachusetts, encouraging them to support my candidacy, so it was, if you will, a support phone bank, which is not an official endorsement." ”
→ While the leading gun-control groups endorsed his opponent
The Million Mom March was an anti-gun organization that was created when its founders organized a march on Washington, D.C. on Mother's Day in 2000 "demanding that the U.S. Congress pass tougher gun control legislation." (CNN.com - May 14, 2000)
The Million Mom March formally endorsed Shannon O'Brien:
Note: The Brady Campaign endorsed if they determined a candidate that would be pro gun-control was running against a candidate that would be pro gun-rights. States that had no pro gun-control candidates running against pro gun-rights candidates received no Brady Campaign endorsements, including many pro-gun western states such as Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. (The Brady Campaign and Million Mom March later merged.)
(Must login as an NRA member to see candidate ratings then reclick link. Recommend: If you care about this issue and are not an NRA member, join.)
As a comparison, when Mike Huckabee ran for the U.S. senate in 1992, he received a B- rating in the Guns & Ammo magazine's Nov 1992 Voting Guide. (The NRA online candidate ratings only go back to 2002.)
After the defeat in that pro-gun state, Huckabee switched to a solid pro-gun position.
→ Romney had a more pro-gun platform than O'Brien, others
Although both candidates received the same NRA rating, it became apparent as the campaign progressed that Mitt Romney was the pro-gun candidate in the race. A few examples are given:
“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?" ”
“Guns suddenly became a campaign issue last week after the state House overwhelmingly passed a measure that would eliminate a lifetime ban on gun ownership for some people convicted of violent crimes. Even though the Senate is not expected to back the bill, it provoked a backlash of criticism from anti-gun activists, who cited a wave of violent crime in Boston.
“As most other candidates quickly sided with anti-gun groups, Romney said in a statement he would "work to find a compromise." Gun rights activists say the state's blanket ban prevents citizens who had scrapes with the law many years ago from hunting or pursuing careers in law enforcement.
“ "We understand where they're trying to get," said Romney's deputy campaign manager Eric Fehrnstrom. "If, after negotiating with the interested parties, there is consensus that this should happen, we would work on a much more narrow proposal." ...
“Four other gubernatorial candidates have come out in strong opposition to any changes in the state's Gun Control Act of 1998.”
The senate rejected the bill as anticipated, which as written allowed people convicted of assault and battery to obtain firearms. Gov. Romney worked out a compromise that all parties involved were happy with, as he had promised, and signed the new bill in 2004.
→ Mitt Romney was a senate candidate in 1994 — not 1996
→ And he was not in favor of any new gun-control legislation
“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.”
“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." Earlier in the day, Romney found himself under attack from Tsongas...
“Romney brushed aside [former Dem. Sen] 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.”
So what about claims that he campaigned for an assault weapons ban? FALSE!
The Assault Weapons ban was passed as part of the crime bill of 1994, on August 21 by the House (clerk.house.gov) and August 25 by the Senate (Senate.gov), over two months before the election. During the campaign, Mitt Romney was asked his opinion of it after it had been passed by congress. He answered:
“Romney... said he believes the [assault weapons] 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.”
In fact 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.”
The crime bill was popular among Massachusetts voters, and had several positive provisions including providing funding for over 2,000 more police officers in Massachusetts and funding for the Police Corp, which gives college scholarships in return for a commitment to serve as a police officer. In fact, 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." One reason Romney kept getting asked about the crime bill was because his opponent Sen. Kennedy "was a leader in passage of the 1994 Crime Act." (TedKennedy.org)
So what about claims he opposed the NRA in support of the Brady Bill? FALSE!
The Brady Bill was passed in November 1993, one year before his '94 senate campaign, after concessions were already made to the NRA to get it passed. During negotiations, 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)
Also, over 100 congressmen who afterwards received an A- or better rating, voted to allow the Brady Act to be voted on or abstained from voting against blocking the measure (clerk.house.gov - rollcall 79) knowing it had the necessary votes and support to pass-- It then passed that same day by well over 50 votes (clerk.house.gov - rollcall 83).
The above listed GOA ratings published in Guns & Ammo also included several congressmen who voted to allow that Omnibus Crime bill to be voted on (clerk.house.gov - rollcall 310), which then passed 305 to 118 as they knew it would (see previously listed rollcall 327), and then voted to block any objections to the final bill (clerk.house.gov - rollcall 441), who then got A ratings.
Some congressmen did all of the above, i.e.- co-sponsored the instant check bill, voted for allowing the vote on the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act and the Omnibus Crime Control Act, then voted for the Crime Control Act and voted to prevent any objections to the Act, and still got GOA "A" ratings, such as A+ rated Congressman Dingell from Michigan, A rated Congressman Wilson from Texas, and A- rated Congressmen English and Espy from Oklahoma and Mississippi, all from pro-gun states.
In that environment, Romney took the approach in his senate campaign in the most anti-gun state in the union, of supporting existing laws but opposing any new gun-control legislation. Therefore, a year after the law had passed, during the campaign, when Romney was asked his opinion of the law, 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:
“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: Lest anyone try to claim that at least the Washington Post did not misrepresent on the last point, in spite of wording, tone and intent, (through some sort of mental contortion of the rationalist), it should be reminded that a.) the meaning of measure as defined in Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and used in this context means "a proposed legislative act" and b.) several is defined as "an indefinite number more than two and fewer than many."
Romney was not in favor of any new gun-control legislative acts, let alone several.
The Boston Globe:
“The former Massachusetts governor last week began basking in the positive publicity that comes from raking in an impressive $20 million in contributions in the first quarter, more than any rival for the Republican nomination. He ended the week trying to explain a discrepancy between assertion and fact when it comes to hunting credentials...
“Changing from pro-gun control to anti-gun control is a flip-flop. Saying you are a longtime hunter when you hunted twice is an exaggeration. Saying you own a gun when you don't is a lie.”
Note: Romney has repeatedly stated (as quoted & referenced below) that he has owned a gun in the past and currently has a gun for his own use, but that it is owned by his son. For opponents, liberal news agencies, and their supporters to spread to the best of their ability to the public, the claim that he has never owned a gun yet lied by saying he has, is uninformed and perhaps itself dishonest.
The excuse for such misrepresentations is the fact that one month before he announced he would run for president he stated "I have a gun of my own" followed up by the clarification that it was kept at his vacation home for his use, but that it belonged to his son. He made the clarification within two days of the first statement, and from then on, including the whole time he campaigned for president, whenever he mentioned he had a gun, always made certain to also point out it was owned by his son.
Yet months later, and even over a year later, misinformed people and disreputable reporters have continued to state that he lied in order to deceive the voting public.
Is a person with a job who states that they have their own computer at work, but then follows that up by saying the computer is owned by their employer a liar? Is a teenager that tells a friend they have their own car but later clarifies it is owned by their parents a liar? Of course not. Such claims say more about the accuser, who inspite of facts and clarifications, chooses to split hairs on another person's words in order to come up with an unintended meaning, so that they can attempt to destroy the other person's reputation.
Someone in a close relationship with another, with full use of something owned by the other can honestly refer to it as their own and should get credit for honesty and transparency in declaring the legal ownership is, however, the other person's.
Following are quotes and links of what Gov. Romney has actually said on gun-ownership: (The additional misrepresentations are addressed in the link after this.)
“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.'"
“Romney said he once owned a pistol, but doesn't own any firearms now.”
“Asked by reporters at the gun show Friday (January 12, 2007) whether he personally owned the gun, Romney said he did not. He said one of his sons, Josh, keeps two guns at the family vacation home in Utah, and he uses them "from time to time." The guns are a Winchester hunting rifle and a Glock 9mm handgun, which Romney uses for target shooting. Romney also described himself as a sportsman who learned to shoot as a boy rabbit hunting in Idaho with a .22 rifle. He fondly recalled shooting quail last year at a Republican Governors Association event in Georgia.”
“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.”
“In a section of the debate about gun ownership rights, three of the GOP presidential hopefuls said they do not own guns: Sen. John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“Romney, however, noted "I have two guns in my home. They're owned by my son Josh." ”
“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.”
“LIVETOSHOOT,my brother lives in MA. he is a ret.marine and has the utmost respect for ROMNEY. he has told me how it was before he got in, how hard it was to get a gun or pistol, but ROMNEY got the laws changed to make it a little easier. he didn't get all of them like he wanted, [some are still banned] but it is a lot better now.” (bigbuddy21, GunAndGame.com VIP Member)
“Thus far in my research, everything I've located on Mitt Romney, personal and political, shows his integrity isn't for trade or sale. His record shows him to be very honest and upright...
“So, everything I've read about Mitt Romney, from credible sources, shows he does what he says he will do and how he says he will do it. This info comes from people who actually know and have actually worked with him, personally and publicly.
“In today's political landscape, Mitt Romney's personal and political integrity is exceptional and uniquely good...
“My research into presidential candidates has shown that Mitt Romney, while serving as governor in the liberal state of Massachusetts, upheld our conservative American constitutional laws/rights time and again. His voting record speaks for itself, and successfully passes the test for political integrity. Nowhere can I find any indication of impropriety or fraudulent activity.” (LiveToShoot, GunAndGame.com 28 Principles of Liberty)
“NORQUIST: 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. I’m on the 50 caliber association, not the machine gun guys, just the single shot 50 caliber. Although if we set up one of the other associations I'd volunteer, no, its lots of fun and people keep wanting to restrict these things of beauty, but people don’t appreciate art in this country, that’s the problem. So, his position is fine.
“Where he got awkward is trying to do this, ‘I'm with you, I'm a lifetime hunter’, meaning ‘I've hunted.’ And, he'd only hunted a few times ... He didn’t need to do that. So, it’s awkward but on the other hand since the people who care about the second amendment only care about your position on it, they don’t care if you hunt or target shoot or collect or don’t have any guns. They just want to know where you are politically. He's fine politically.”
While the pro-gun lobby met regularly with senior Romney staffers, as noted above, the anti-gun lobby stood out in the cold shouting for attention they didn't get:
“The state Democratic Party and gun control advocates held a news conference outside the State House yesterday to urge Governor Mitt Romney to ask the president and Congress to extend the national assault-weapons ban... [stating] Romney should use his influence to try to persuade President Bush to renew the weapons ban.”
The silence was defening. Romney did not urge its passage, indicating he was not in favor of it being passed at the federal level. Earlier that year he was able to reform the state's laws, lessening gun restrictions and making the federal law unhelpful. (Previously, the federal law actually lessened gun restrictions at the state level in Massachusetts.)
Also, on the day Romney left office and his replacement, a pro gun-control democrat, was sworn in, the Brady Campaign declared the change bodes well for gun control and that it had been working with others, but not Romney to seek gun control initiatives:
“In Massachusetts, Change Bodes Well For Fight Against Illegal Guns - Deval Patrick was sworn in as the new Governor of Massachusetts today, after winning election in a campaign that stressed the need to fight the flow of guns to criminals...
“The Brady Campaign in March of last year announced an extended, long term focus on efforts to curb the flow of guns from the legal market to the illegal market. Along with the Massachusetts Against Trafficking Handguns (MATH) Coalition, the organization has worked with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to build support for legislative and policy changes that would make it tougher for criminals to arm themselves.”