Melania Trump Club

Melania Trump Club
Melania Trump Club

Friday, April 13, 2012

Romney Assures N.R.A. of Support for Gun Rights


Reporting from St. Louis— Mitt Romney drew a warm reception from the National Rifle Assn. on Friday as he attacked President Obama for “employing every imaginable ruse and ploy” to restrict gun rights, which Romney pledged not to do if elected in November.

Although gun control groups have complained that Obama has done little to support their cause, Romney took a page from the NRA leadership, which has been saying that the president is waiting for a second term to crack down on firearms. He warned that Obama would “remake” the Supreme Court in a second term, threatening constitutional freedoms.

“In a second term, he would be unrestrained by the demands of re-election,” Romney told a crowd estimated at 6,000 in the cavernous Edward Jones Dome. “As he told the Russian president last month when he thought no one else was listening, after a re-election he’ll have a lot more, quote, 'flexibility' to do what he wants.  I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that, but looking at his first three years, I have a very good idea.”

He breezed past any attempt to expand on or defend his record as governor to touch a more fundamental nerve with the gun owners’ lobby: its fear that a second term for Mr. Obama would give him another chance to nominate a Supreme Court justice.

“In his first term,” Mr. Romney said, “we’ve seen the president try to browbeat the Supreme Court. In a second term, he would remake it. Our freedoms would be in the hands of an Obama court, not just for four years, but for the next 40. That must not happen.”

Before his speech, an N.R.A. spokesman said that was exactly the kind of statement the group was looking for.

The spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam, said the N.R.A. feared that an altered Supreme Court could reverse a pair of landmark 5-to-4 decisions that affirmed an individual’s right to bear arms and narrowed the ability of states and cities to enact gun control laws.

But the issue may be something of a red herring since there is no indication that even the oldest conservative and swing-vote justices are suffering health problems that could result in retirement.

Mr. Obama has hardly been an enemy of gun rights. He signed legislation allowing visitors to national parks to carry concealed guns, and his overall record has so disappointed the gun control lobby that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave him an “F” grade in 2010.

Another goal for Mr. Romney here was to close a bit of the cultural gap with gun owners. He was lampooned during his 2008 presidential campaign for exaggerating his hunting experience, explaining that he was a hunter of “small varmints,” rabbits and rodents.

This year, he revealed in a debate that he had been on a hunting trip to Montana for elk.

His guide on that outing, Rob Keck, is a well-known figure in hunting, and it was no coincidence that he accompanied Mr. Romney to the N.R.A. convention, where hunting and firearms exhibitions filled a large hall.

Mr. Keck described in an interview taking Mr. Romney into rugged country in November 2010 for two days of hunting elk and one for shooting pheasants on a private ranch. “He admittedly didn’t grow up hunting,” Mr. Keck said, “but let me tell you, he accounted for a number of birds on that day.”

It remains to be seen whether Second Amendment advocates will enthusiastically come out for Mr. Romney in November.