Sit Down: Mitt Romney and the NRA-ILA

By Chris Cox, NRA-ILA

This year’s election is going to define the future of our freedom, perhaps more than any other in our history. For gun owners, there are a number of areas crucial to the survival of our Second Amendment rights. That’s why I took the time to visit with Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, to find out precisely where he stands on the issues of concern to gun owners.

Chris W. Cox: First, let me start with the most basic question of all. In the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, and in the 2010 case McDonald v. City of Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court—by a 5-4 majority—held that the Second Amendment guarantees the fundamental, individual right of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms. Do you agree that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to own and use firearms for all lawful purposes?

Gov. Mitt Romney: Absolutely, and I was pleased when the Court finally rendered a clear and concise decision on this critical issue. The Second Amendment is essential to our free society. I strongly support the right of all law-abiding Americans to exercise their constitutionally protected right to own firearms and to use them for lawful purposes, including self-defense; the protection of family and property; hunting and recreational shooting.

Cox: Obviously, America’s 100 million gun owners are very concerned their Second Amendment rights hang in the balance at the U.S. Supreme Court by just one vote. President Obama’s two nominees to the Court so far—Justices Sotomayor and Kagan—have a history of anti-gun opinions and activism. And some have predicted that if Barack Obama is re-elected, he may have the opportunity to nominate several more justices to the Court. As president, if you had the opportunity, what type of individuals would you nominate to the Supreme Court? And which of the justices currently serving on the Court would you consider to be the best models of your judicial philosophy?

Gov. Romney: Chris, I believe the next president could indeed have the opportunity to shape the Court for decades to come, and that’s a key reason why the tens of millions of Americans who support the NRA should support my candidacy. My view of the Constitution is straightforward: Its words have meaning. The founders adopted a written constitution for a reason. They intended to limit the powers of government. The job of a judge is to enforce the Constitution’s restraints on government and, where the Constitution does not speak, to leave the governance of the nation to its elected representatives. I believe in the rule of law, and I will appoint wise, experienced and restrained judges who take seriously their oath to discharge their duties impartially in accordance with our Constitution and our laws—not their personal policy preferences.

Cox: Let’s do a quick rundown of where you stand on some gun laws our opponents have been pushing for many years. Do you support additional federal regulation of gun shows?

Gov. Romney: I do not support further federal regulation of gun shows. There are tens of thousands of gun shows in local communities every year. Gun shows are not only an opportunity for millions of law-abiding Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights, but also their First Amendment right to assemble and speak. Anti-gun organizations have perpetrated this myth that somehow laws don’t apply at gun shows and that’s nonsense. All sales from federal firearm licensees are regulated no matter where they take place, and private sales are regulated at gun shows just as they are anywhere else.

Cox: Gun owner licensing?

Gov. Romney: That’s another solution in search of a problem. I do support the current National Instant Check System, because it simply verifies that a gun buyer is not disqualified under current law. Adding an arbitrary, costly and bureaucratic licensing scheme on top of that would be wasteful and wrong.

Cox: Federal gun registration?

Gov. Romney: Like the majority of Americans, I do not believe that the United States needs more laws that restrict Second Amendment rights. I also recognize the extraordinary number of jobs and other economic benefits that are produced by hunting, recreational shooting, and the firearms and ammunition industry, not the least of which is to fund wildlife and habitat conservation. But I do not support adding more laws and regulations that would burden law-abiding citizens and would be ignored by criminals.

Cox: The United Nations has been conducting serious negotiations on a treaty that would likely impose significant regulation of private gun ownership in the United States. The Bush administration strongly opposed this effort as an infringement on American sovereignty. How would a Romney administration approach this issue?

Gov. Romney: I am troubled by this. In foreign policy, I am guided by one overwhelming conviction: This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, America leads the free world. God did not create this country to be a nation of followers. America must lead the world, or someone else will. Without American leadership, without the clarity of American purpose and resolve, the world becomes a far more dangerous place. Let me make this very clear. As president of the United States, I will devote myself to those ideas, and I will never, ever apologize for America. So by the same token, I will never support or enforce any treaty that attempts to restrict our fundamental rights, or tries to “harmonize” our constitutional rights with all of the less-free nations in the world.

Cox: Would you support legislation to provide national reciprocity for Right-to-Carry permit holders so that they can protect themselves when they’re traveling outside their home states?

Gov. Romney: Absolutely. Fundamental rights don’t disappear when we cross state borders, and self-defense is a fundamental right.

Cox: Would you support the reimposition of a federal ban on semi-automatic firearms incorrectly called “assault weapons?”

Gov. Romney: No. I do not support any additional laws to restrict the right to keep and bear arms.

Cox: As governor, you signed a major bill reforming Massachusetts’ gun registration and licensing laws. Some in the media and elsewhere claim this bill was a reauthorization of the semi-auto ban in Massachusetts. What’s your response?

Gov. Romney: As governor of Massachusetts, I was proud to support legislation that expanded the rights of gun owners. I worked hard to advance the ability of law-abiding citizens to purchase and own firearms, while opposing liberal desires to create bureaucracy intended to burden gun owners and sportsmen. As governor, I also designated May 7 as “The Right to Bear Arms Day” in Massachusetts to honor law-abiding citizens and their right to “use firearms in defense of their families, persons and property for all lawful purposes, including common defense.”

The bill you mention was supported by your state NRA affiliate because it expanded the rights of Massachusetts gun owners. The NRA said at the time that it included “the greatest set of firearm law reforms since the passage of the Commonwealth’s worst-in-the-nation gun laws… a breath of fresh air for law-abiding gun owners.” While not perfect legislation, I agreed with that description of the bill, and that’s why I signed it into law.

Cox: America has a proud hunting tradition. One of the biggest problems facing hunters is finding land where they can hunt. The NRA has worked for a number of years to open as much federal land to hunting as possible. What would you do as president to address this issue?

Gov. Romney: I will work with the Congress to pass legislation to make clear that public lands should be open for hunting unless there’s a legitimate reason otherwise. I also plan to address the regulatory aspect of this issue by nominating people to key positions who support our proud hunting heritage, and understand that hunters are the original conservationists.

Cox: Over the past few years, drug cartel violence along the Southwest border has created significant problems for law enforcement, and has been used by anti-gun politicians in both the U.S. and Mexico as an excuse to call for more American gun laws. How would you deal with the violence in Mexico and its impact in the U.S.?

Gov. Romney: Our border with Mexico remains an ongoing problem, posing serious questions for America’s future. Will drug cartels dominate Mexico’s border region, with greater and greater violence spilling over into our country? And will drug smugglers and terrorists increasingly make their way to our side of the border? These are only some of the very real dangers that America faces, if we continue the policies of the past three years. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We are a democracy. We decide. Your members decide. America’s 100 million gun owners decide. I will offer a very different vision of America’s role in the world and of America’s destiny than what we’ve seen during the past three and a half years.

Cox: One part of the current administration’s policies to deal with Mexican crime was the “Fast & Furious” program. This has turned into a serious scandal. As president, how would you respond if this occurred during your administration? And how would you prevent this kind of disaster in the future?

Gov. Romney: I don’t want to wait until after the election. This problem needs to be addressed right now. I support the language in the current Justice Department appropriations bill to absolutely prohibit this kind of operation. And unlike Barack Obama, I would not support repealing that language in the future.

Cox: Attorney General Holder has steadfastly refused to cooperate with the congressional investigation into “Fast & Furious.” Do you believe Holder should resign or be fired due to his actions?

Gov. Romney: If there is the remotest possibility that our nation’s top prosecutors have suppressed evidence that they supported this outrageous operation, then someone has to be held accountable. And I believe that’s where this is headed, so yes, I believe it’s time for Eric Holder to go.

Cox: The NRA has always said that passing more gun control laws will not reduce violent crime. We think the solution to this issue is prosecuting criminals who illegally misuse firearms. But in the Obama administration, prosecutions of criminals who misuse firearms are at the lowest point in the last 10 years. What do you believe is the most effective method for reducing crime?

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Gov. Romney: My position is simple: I will enforce the laws already on the books and punish, to the fullest extent of the law, criminals who misuse firearms to commit crimes. I will also provide law enforcement with the proper and effective resources they need to deter, apprehend and punish criminals.

Cox: One of the key areas where presidents can affect the Second Amendment rights of Americans is in the people they appoint to key positions. As president, will you appoint people who agree with your position that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental, individual right, particularly to the office of attorney general and other Cabinet level appointments, as well as positions that directly impact gun owners such as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives?

Gov. Romney: That’s a basic starting point, yes. If elected president, yes, I will nominate people who agree that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental, individual right and are prepared to implement them throughout government, from the Cabinet level on down.

Cox: Aside from the specific issues, is there anything you’d like to tell our members about the stakes in this election for gun owners and hunters?

Gov. Romney: I do. I believe we are an exceptional country with a unique destiny and role in the world. We are exceptional because we are a nation founded on a precious idea that was born in the American Revolution. We are a people who threw off the yoke of tyranny and established a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We are a people who, in the language of our Declaration of Independence, hold certain truths to be self evident; namely, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That sets us apart from the rest of the world, and we don’t need to apologize for it. We should be proud of it. I hope to serve as your president to continue in that proud tradition. We need a president who will stand up for the rights of those who simply want to protect themselves, their families and their homes and who want to continue America’s rich hunting heritage. President Obama has not, but I will. The choice is clear. I hope your members will support me, and I respectfully ask for their votes on Election Day.

Cox: Governor Romney, thank you for your time and for your support of gun owners’ rights. Good luck in November.

The Democratic Response

At Cheaper Than Dirt! we recognize that the Second Amendment is not a Republican or Democrat issue; it is an American issue and appreciates our customers from both sides of the political aisle. For this reason, we reached out to the President Obama and the Obama Campaign with requests for comments and with an offer for an equal interview. As of 9.28.12 the following is the only response we have received:


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (30)

  1. I can’t understand people like Mike. This election is about a lot more than gun rights and the second amendment. If you want to live under a socialist Marxist government then Obama is your man. He has done more to try to destroy this country than any president in history.

  2. I don’t understand the comments about Romney being super rich. He has far less money than people like John Kerry and George Soros. In fact there are lottery winners that have more than Romney. It seems that it is fine if people inherit or win gobs of money. But it is a bad thing if they actually work for and earn it. It is sort of like: if you live in a small house and keep to yourself, you are considered ‘quiet’. But if you live in a big house and keep to yourself, you are a ‘snob’. Anyone you thinks their gun rights are not in jeopardy doesn’t read much about these issues. If many of the senators had not stood up to Obama during the last United Nations session, other governments would be controlling your rights. They want this country disarmed! Just like the muslims want us to abolish free speech because people’s opinions insult them. Obama told Putin to wait until after the elections! So Mike, you can trust the BHO if you choose, but he hasn’t been honest about many things. This country is really coming down to identifying people who work for a living vs those that vote for a living. And when the economic collapse occurs, latter group will be wanting to take everything from the others. Wake up America!

  3. As a member of this list and a regular at the range I obviously wholeheartedly endorse and support the American right to bear arms. What I don’t understand really is why anyone would believe anything Romney says or assume that Romney is a friend to the gun owner. The current guy’s not perfect but when everybody ran out and loaded up on guns and ammo after Obama was elected for fear he’s try to take our guns, nothing happened except the gun industry sold a lot of guns (to me among others). Legal gun ownership doesn’t seem to be an issue for the current president and I don’t feel like my rights there are in danger. Certainly he hasn’t acted in any way that has effected my gun rights. What I DO fear is a Romney trickle-down economy that favors the super rich (which I’m not). The economy is currently improving slow and steady which tells me it’s probably a sustainable improvement. Without a democratic candidate who is anti gun, I have to vote for what will improve the economy and that’s going to be 4 more years of steady improvement with Obama, not upsetting the apple cart and hoping for the best with Richy Rich Romney.

  4. So, the administration (Hillary and now BHO) support the UN small arms limitations to be enforced by th UN inside the USA and some of you are bad mouthing Romney? Those who cling to BHO are sheople to the slaughter for taking that stance.

    Romney may not walk the talk you want but his lifelong walk is there for all to see. You have heard the Marxist, racist, and bastard (legally) BHO’s talk (although not on the MSM) and seen his walk (overseas and here), yet you would not have the courage to disavow him? You are sheople.

    BTW: 1,700 weapons were confiscated during post-Katrina events (most not returned) and only one (recorded) elderly woman resisted. So, don’t give me that guff about “cold dead hands”, in my book your brains are already cold and dead if that is your only position – you just won’t act now, so you talk big. Horse hockey – you have been bought and sold if you still think BHO is pro-America.

  5. The sad thing is that an election is not about the constitution, the country, or the people, it is about the job, and the power, prestige, and benefits that go with it.

    Our borders are open to get votes! In reality, BHO is in direct violation of his oath to protect this country from foreign invaders. He should be impeached. And still our do nothing congress stands by and watches. The UN wants us disarmed because our armed citizens create the largest army in the world. BHO simply told the UN to wait until after the election. And the Clintons have always been a proponent of one world government, especially if they are in control.

    Americans have already given up most of their rights and don’t even know it. If we followed the constitution, our 545 leaders would be following the same laws as the rest of us. We piss and moan about CEOs getting rediculous salaries but don’t care that some 1-term representative will get lifetime benefits. The condition we find ourselves in today cannot be blamed on anything other than the American people who in their indifference and indulgence bestowed leadership on people who misused their responsibility.

  6. i believe romney on this issue, how can you believe obama and clinton on this matter of importanance. i will not believe the ones that let four of our people die and dragged doen the streets of lybia. they knew this was going to happen 48 hrs. before and did nothing so we need to protect ourselfs or they will do the same thing to the USA. obama opened the borders for a reason and it isn’t to let mexicans in but our enemy.

  7. BO: Ladies and Gentlemen: After the death/resignation of Justice—–, I would like to introduce my nominee for appointment to the Supreme Court- Eric Holder. BO is too slick to support gun control, although he did as state senator, the problem is he’s infested the federal judiciary and regulatory agencies with anti-gun nuts and will continue to do so for 4 more years if re-elected.

    I trust Romney, the truth hasn’t been brought out about him because the press is so in the tank for BOzo. Now look at the debate, no friendly crowds, no teleprompter, no friendly journalists to help him out and how he handled himself and put forth his ideas compared to Romney. They’re both Harvard Law graduates but which would you rather have defending you or representing your interests in a civil case.

    I grew up in upstate NY and if we visited MA, did you know there were signs up at the state line that no handguns were permitted in MA. That was Dukakis. It’s been rough but Romney definitely helped restore some gun rights in MA.

  8. For those of you doubting Mitt Romney’s commitment to the 2nd amendment, I can honestly say that Governor Romney worked extremely hard to revamp the Massachusetts gun control act of 1998.

    When this law was enacted under Governor William Weld it essentially gave each police department “carte blanche” to deny anyone that they decided was undesirable a license to own a gun. Many gun owners who already legally owned guns suddenly became in violation of the new law through no fault of their own. (All current licenses expired at the passing of the law) I tried to get my FID renewed at that time and was told that they did not have to renew me. They required me to provide 5 references that lived in town and that knew me for at least 3 years and to take their only approved safety course at the Worcester Police Academy. Fortunately I moved to another community shortly thereafter.

    Governor Romney had to fight with extremely antigun legislators to make towns more accountable for abuse of the law, and to streamline the appeals process.

  9. ” We are a democracy. ” No we aren’t Romney, we are a Republic.
    Now if we could get a president that would tell the BATF to get rid of the tax stamps for the sbrs, suppresors, full auto and any other weapon. And use the same background check you use for a rifle or pistol on the previously mentioned sbrs, suppresors, full auto and any other weapon we would be freer.

  10. The choice is clear. It’s Romney/Ryan over Obama/Biden. My friend and even Kimberly Guilfoyle on The Five (Fox News) said about the Democrats: “If their lips are moving, they’re lying!” Democrats lie! They lied about Romney’s role, while at Bain Capital, being responsible for a woman’s death, and they lied about the American deaths at Benghazi. People say both parties lie. That may be so, but I haven’t heard any Republican lies lately. Oh, I’m an Independent with strong Republican leanings. And one more thing. The NRA is the premier civil rights organization in the world. The right to bear arms is the most fundamental freedom in a free America.

  11. I am an independent voter, and although I agree with many different view of left and right I do agree that the second amendment is important and we need to get someone who helps support out view. Having the Obama administration ask for question is noble, but having no answer is almost as bad as the answer Gov. Romney spoke. Massachusetts is one of the worst states in the union on 2nd A rights. I understand that he was governor of a state with mostly democratic congressional leadership. However, he’s entering into the same position (if you look at the poll numbers) if he were to be elected to the presidency. I don’t see anything of real substance from this interview, and although his voting record isn’t against the 2nd A, if he wants my vote, he should have turned Mass around when he had the chance. This is just pandering politics.

  12. it don’t make a difference who you vote for or what bills they pass for or against firearms. Politicians cannot get anything done in a timely fashion if at all. You mean to tell me the president is going to tell me to give up my AK and somehow enforce it? The entire national guard couldn’t roust up all the americans with guns or assault weapons with the help of local law enforcement. My guns are mine and they can pry them from my cold dead fingers.

  13. My wife and I are voteing for Romney,Ryan. We also are members of the NRA. Every one needs to join the NRA that owns a gun…..
    We can not be dis armed due to what happened in the late 30s…….

  14. Don’t forget that Obama sided with Mexican president Calderon in saying that it was our fault that Mexican drug cartels were getting guns. Don’t forget Fast and Furious or Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Don’t forget that Obama has voiced support for reinstating the Assault Rifle Ban. Don’t forget where Obama comes from, Chicago. One of the most crime ridden, corrupt cities in the U.S. If you think Obama is pro-gun, you’ve drunk the cool aid.

  15. Hey Mike.Just to let you know,the only reason Obama passed the law to make it legal to carry a gun in State Parks is because it was attached to his credit card reform bill. He wanted to Veto this but his advisers told him it would be a win-win deal for him. First he would get his credit card reform passed. Secondly,he could throw a bone to the pro-gun lobby and point to the fact he let them carry in State Parks.Then he could dupe gullible guys like you to say ‘he’s not anti-gun!” because he approved this legislation which was written into the bill by the Republicans in the first place. Do your research and don’t be swayed by Liberal bullshit lies.

  16. Yes, everything Romney said is only words but he deserves the chance to prove it. Obama is full of words too, but he has already been given the chance and hes proved his best interest is radically changing the America we all love and fought for.

    Their web address has me laughing like crazy,, thats too funny.
    #10 comment is right on the money. Theyll give you an inch so you wont be looking when they take a mile.

  17. Mitt Romney is no friend of the 2nd Amendment. In fact if you look at his record he is a downright enemy to the armed citizen. The NRA blew it this election by not coming out against this snake oil salesman early and hard. Softball underhand questions pitched to a globalist gun grabbing dirtbag. The man signed a permanent gun ban as Governor. In this elections we are screwed and it has a lot to do with the organizations like the NRA being too scared to endorse a real pro-second amendment candidate until the nomination was already over. Almost anyone running against Romney on the GOP nomination would have been a better choice from the 2nd amendment perspective except maybe Huntsman.

  18. Carry in parks = throwing us a bone, a smoke screen. If it comes to only being able to have a .22 rifle at least that is something, but not what we should or do have now. Politicians historically “expand ” your rights in one way while deeply restricting them in another.

  19. While I appreciate Romney seems to support the 2nd Amendment, every politician and commentator and even the Supreme Court comes up short in acknowledging what the 2nd Amendment actually says and means.

    1) The right to keep and bear “arms” – those are combat weapons. Assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, the armaments of a soldier. The preservation of a free state has no relation to ‘sporting purposes’ or other wrongful litmus tests applied by Democrats when they decide what guns are legal or not. In the Miller case, 1930s, the Supreme Court got it right – that if a gun can be shown to have combat usefulness it is therefore absolutely off-limits to government infringement. No taxes, permits or any other prior restraint can be imposed. This Right is as sacred as voting.

    2) “shall not be infringed” – This is where they really get it wrong. The Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd Amendment guarantees a personal Right to keep and bear arms but that is INCORRECT. This assertion would allow Government to impose all sorts of restrictions so long as the person is ‘allowed’ to keep and bear some sort of firearm, under some conditions, and even Barack Obama made that argument. What the 2nd Amendment actually says is that pre-existing Right SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. That means it PROHIBITS INTERFERENCE OF ANY SORT with that Right.

    As with all rights, the individual person who abuses it to harm the Rights of others may lose it. However, there is no prior restraint allowed on your Right to keep and carry combat-suitable firearms to defend yourself, your family, your community and your nation.

    If the Supreme Court ruled in accordance with what the Constitution actually says and means, there could be no permits, no taxes, no magazine restrictions, no feature restrictions, no magazine release buttons, no bans on noise suppressors, no purchase limitations, no ‘gun-free’ zones… you would be free to exercise your Right, in the intended manner, without fear of punishment.

  20. To be truthful, I do not trust any of them. Left or right, they both take orders from the same Boss. The only thing that I will say is the whomever votes against legal personal weapon possession and ownership is in violation of the constitution of the United States of America. The people of political, military and police groups who are for the choice to disarm the public are traitors to the constitution and citizens of this country and are to treated as such. I hope that they are ready to arrest and or kill honest law abiding citizens whom they wish to disarm. I also hope that they are ready to deal with the war that they will incur with this action.

  21. There are no quotation marks around Romney’s ‘answers’. If Mitt was that polished at answering questions he’d be leading by 25% points in the polls. This so-called interview reads like a written communication…not a face-to-face live interview.

    Besides CTD, you’re preaching to the choir.

  22. John Browning, Please read the official Democratic 2012 platform. It’s not gun friendly to me:

    Official 2012 Democratic Platform

    We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms.

    We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation.

    We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious.

    We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms.

    We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements—like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole—so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few.

  23. Obama would be well served to take a stand on this. I’m a moderate who usually votes Democrat, and my guns are my hobby. I would rather shoot than watch the Super Bowl, fortunately the SB starts at 5:30. Romney can say anything and it’s just talk at this time. He said all the right words, but again that’s all they are.

  24. At least Romney took the time to sit down and actually talk about the issue. There are firm answers that we now can hold him to.

    Try to get an answer from our current president. Different answers are given to different groups just to appease them for a moment.

    Do you want to see what happens when Obama is given more “latitude” if he’s re-elected?

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