Romney addresses attendees at NRA Annual Meetings; Members have concerns, but seem ready to support "anybody but Obama"
by Chad D. Baus
Much to the dismay of two-thirds of GOP voters (who consistently voted against him throughout the primary), Rick Santorum's departure from the Republican primary last week all but locked up the nomination for Mitt Romney. Romney's poor record on the issue of gun rights is quite well-documented, though as a presidential candidate in 2008 and again in 2012 he has changed his tune.
Despite their misgivings, it appears from media coverage of the NRA Annual Meetings last week that some gun owners are planning to vote for Romney, understanding that a second term for Obama would be potentially catastrophic for Second Amendment rights.
From the BusinessWeek.com:
"He's better than Obama," said Tom Zenthoefer, 53, an NRA member from Fenton, Missouri. "It will be a hold-your-nose situation."
Dennis Kershman, 60, an NRA member from Bennett, Colorado, offered a similar take from the convention floor.
"If it's the lesser of two evils, I'll vote for Romney," he said. "I will not vote for Obama."
Others, however, aren't yet convinced:
"If [Romney] wants our backing, he's going to have to change his mind on some gun issues," said Felix Urioste, 76, an NRA member from Granite City, Illinois.
Also from The Bradenton Herald:
At the convention, where attendees were handed NRA buttons that read "All In," as they entered the cavernous stadium floor, some gun owners said they remain skeptical about Romney's commitment to the 2nd Amendment.
"I have to say, I'm a little bit worried about him," said Stormy Hyatt, 70, a retired trucker from Wapello, Ia., who had been supporting Santorum. He said a rousing speech can help but could not assuage all of his concerns. "I really only believe half of what I hear," he said.
According to the The Los Angeles Times, Romney warned NRA members on Friday 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."
Referring specifically to the right to bear arms, Romney said: "If we are going to safeguard our 2nd Amendment, it is time to elect a president who will defend the rights President Obama ignores or minimizes. I will."
The entire address can be viewed here:
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.