Mitt “varmint hunting” Romney joined the National Rifle Association at its annual meeting in St. Louis on Friday.
In the NRA’s mission statement the organization says its express goals are to “promote firearms and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills of those participating in the shooting sports, and to educate the general public about firearms in their historic, technological and artistic context.”
Many of the organization’s members are likely wary of Romney’s record on guns, considering his proverbial “Etch A Sketch” rhetoric concerning the issue.
Here are a few of Romney’s past positions concerning gun control:
- In 1994, Romney backed two gun-control measures that were strongly opposed by the NRA: a ban on certain assault weapons and the Brady Law, which imposed a five-day waiting period on gun sales. “I don’t think (the waiting period) will have a massive effect on crime, but I think it will have a positive effect,” he said. Also in 1994, Romney, speaking about his devotion to tough control laws, said he did not line up with the NRA.
- While running for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney said: “We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won’t chip away at them.”
- In 2004, as Governor of the State, Romney made good on the promise by signing a complete assault rifle ban into law, declaring the firearms “instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”
- During his Gubernatorial tenure, Massachusetts approved raising the fee on gun licenses from $25 to $100.
Romney took a bit of a turn on the issues during his first Presidential run. Romney told The Washington Post in 2008:
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.
In a 2007 interview, Romney told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:
…I’m a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights. I believe people, under our Constitution, have the right to bear arms. We have a gun in one of our homes. It’s not owned by me, it’s owned by my son, but I’ve always considered it sort of mine. (Emphasis added.)
Borrowing his son’s gun that is kept in one of his homes was apparently enough, however, for the candidate to sign up for a lifetime membership to the NRA before his first Presidential run. Perhaps it is even enough for the millions of Americans who keep several guns in their one home for self-defense, hunting and sport shooting to believe that the candidate is sincere in his devotion to protecting 2nd Amendment Rights.