Republican presidential candidates seek to educate primary voters on Romney's flip-flops on gun rights

by Chad D. Baus

Two Republican presidential candidates with documented pro-Second Amendment rights records as governors are seeking to make sure that primary voters are aware that former governor Mitt Romney's record on the issue looks more like Barack Obama's or Hillary Clinton's than that of a supposedly pro-gun conservative.

One of the flip-flop issues consistently mentioned about Romney?

His record on gun rights.

From an October 28 Bloomberg News article, entitled "Perry Campaign Attacks to Stall Romney's Bid for Nomination":

To block Mitt Romney's path toward the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Perry has reverted to a familiar form for him: attack.

He accused his rival of shifting positions on guns, abortion rights, gay rights, and an anti-collective bargaining measure in Ohio. "How do you change at the age of 50 or 60, positions on life, positions on guns, positions on traditional marriage?" he said on Fox News Oct. 25. "I mean, those aren't minor issues."

His campaign also unveiled a Romney "flip-flop scale," complete with the Twitter hashtag #FlipFlopMitt, and hired a team of consultants, including Joe Allbaugh, the former campaign manager for George W. Bush who was part of the former president's "Iron Triangle" of advisers.

It's part of a take-down strategy that Perry has built a reputation for during his 27 year in politics.

"He's going to go after Romney hammer and tong," said Richard Land, leader of the Nashville, Tennessee-based Southern Baptist Convention and influential leader in Republican religious circles. "Cross Rick Perry and he'll amputate your legs. Get ready to see that."

As the Associated Press noted recently, Perry is "not afraid to make it a point of aggressive contrast with Romney."

"I would no more consider living in Massachusetts than I suspect a great number of folks from Massachusetts would like to live in Texas," he wrote in his book, "Fed Up!," while naming Ted Kennedy and John Kerry as popular figures in that state. "Texans, on the other hand, elect folks like me. You know the type, the kind of guy who goes jogging in the morning, packing a Ruger .380 with laser sights and loaded with hollow-point bullets and shoots a coyote that is threatening his daughter's dog."

The AP article noted that Mitt Romney struggles mightily to explain his own limited personal background with hunting and firearms. In 2008, the AP notes, Romney said he'd been "a hunter pretty much all my life" when he'd actually only been out a handful of times. He backed the 1994 Brady gun control bill, and as governor of Massachusetts, he supported the state's strict gun control laws and signed one of the nation's tougher assault weapons laws.

Another Republican candidate with a pro-gun record is former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. He too is hitting Romney for flip-flopping on gun rights, as well as other issues.

Following is a commercial entitled "Backflip", issued last week by the Huntsman campaign:

In his last attempt to win the nomination in 2008, Romney lied about having received an NRA endorsement on national television.

Is it any wonder he'd been hoping to get through the current primary process without having to discuss his anti-gun record? Thanks to the efforts of Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman, and hopefully others - possibly in upcoming debates - that isn't going to happen.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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