April 13th, 2012
03:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney NRA speech marks general election kick-off, advisers say

St. Louis, Missouri (CNN) - Mitt Romney fired off on the Obama White House while speaking at the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting in St. Louis on Friday, tearing into the president for what he called the administration's attack on freedom.

"The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they've been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it," he said.

His speech marks the launch of the general election campaign against the president, his advisers said Friday.

"This, is in our view, is the beginning of crystallizing for voters the choice that they are going to have in the fall between a big government liberal, represented by Barack Obama, and somebody who believes in the freedoms which are an essential part of our Constitution, which are consistent with our founders, and that would be Mitt Romney," said a senior adviser to Romney who briefed reporters before the speech but would only speak under the condition of anonymity.

The NRA speech is the first in a series of speeches that Romney will deliver in the coming months to "clearly define the choice in this race."

The adviser would not announce dates and topics for the future speeches.

Though Romney spoke before an audience of gun enthusiasts, a constituency he has awkwardly courted over the years, his remarks focused not just on Second Amendment rights.

Instead, he framed his remarks in the broader context of the Constitution and accused President Obama of attacking "economic freedom, religious freedom, and personal freedom."

"This President is moving us away from our Founders' vision," Romney said. "Instead of limited government, he is leading us toward limited freedom and limited opportunity."

Asked which specific gun rights the president has abridged since taking office, a Romney adviser would not say, but pointed to the Justice Department's handling of the "Fast and Furious" scandal and "the way in which that was used to provide cover for potential efforts to restrict Second Amendment rights."

The advisers were also asked to elaborate on two shotguns that Romney now owns.

The former Massachusetts governor announced in February that he owns the guns, but his campaign offered few details on when he acquired them or where they are kept.

"I am not going to disclose where those are kept for safety an security reasons," one Romney adviser said.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • NRA
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. FleeingTX

    I guess the thousands of people who die from gunshots in America every year should be happy they were free to get shot! What a hypocritical idiot.....

    April 13, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. james

    What a charmer..He is an unbearable bore.

    April 13, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. the Situation

    If figures! This guy has no shame he wil kiss anyone rear end to get elected. Repubs had a hard time passing the Brady Bill back in the day, even though your God, Ronald Reagan endorse the bill.

    April 13, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. alan

    Dearest Wire Palladin,

    That would depend entirely on wether or not what you just said is true.

    April 13, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Steve

    I live in a very Liberal state, have a concealed pistol license and can buy as many handguns as I want with no waiting. This is a manufactured Conservative issue to try and scare people that are weak minded.

    April 13, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Jackson

    LOL, the attack on freedom......

    Like how the GOP is attacking the freedom of the female uterus?

    Oh, right, it's only wrong when a Democrat does it, I keep forgetting......

    Stupid GOP.

    April 13, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Tyrone

    Yo Bishop Romney , why you be runnin & hiddin everytime when asked about The Lilly Ledbetter Law. It is truely 1 of the most important laws enacted for the equality of Woman. What up wit your coward self??/

    April 13, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. Bill

    His pandering and blatent falsehoods are just too much. Keep it up Mitt, by November the president should have a solid double-digit lead against you. And it's amazing, that it is all empty rhetoric and bashing – no ideas, no policy positions. And you have to love the ridiculousness of the claim about wantng our "freedom" back. How would he know? Did he or any of his spawn serve the country to win the freedoms we enjoy? In a word, no.

    April 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. WhatNow

    Here we go again. So Romney is pro guns this week, so let's all pretend that Obama may do something to threaten their weapons.
    Rudy NYC...Yes, I totally agree.

    April 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. Jeff in TX

    Very symbolic start! How in the world to balance that with votes needed near the center? Romney has stuck his flag in the ground – very far to the right! How does he win any of these: black vote, Hispanic vote, women's vote? Hard to see how his strategy will succeed...

    April 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. mike.s

    @Rudy. At the time muskets were firearms, they were also an effective weapon against tyranny and invaders. If you can convince the government, and all other governments and people, to go back to flintlock rifles, I will, too.

    April 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. JoJo

    Wire Palladin, S. F. asks: "Has this moron ever spoken the truth?"

    I'd estimate about 50% of the time, because half his stated "beliefs" exactly contradict something he said at another time, and I'm assuming one of each statement was the truth.

    April 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. weR4freedom

    To Mitt Romney and the NRA: Great Job, we support you!

    April 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Sorensen

    Here is another reason flip-flop Romney will never be President of anything, except Bain and a bunch of mormons.
    The support of the very sick people in the NRA says it all.

    April 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Ravi

    Romney wil say anything to gain the reigns of power and make the people corporate victims. Corporations want to get into your wallet and take everything of value that isn't bought on credit. This is their guy, Mitt Romney the guy with the plastic smile.

    April 13, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. SlaveWorldTrader

    They all talk Freedom even though they don't agree on what that is and then they spread it with bombs

    April 13, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. MeMelvin

    "Attack on freedom"? This out of the mouth of the GOP candidate for president?
    Have we so soon forgotten Watergate? The Patriot Act? Gitmo?
    The appointment of John G. Roberts – Chief Justice of the United States?
    The attempt in Ohio to place Republican-Backed Union Limits?

    Who's kidding who here? The GOP has traditionally pursued limitations of freedoms in pursuit of its conservative value system, i.e. all white, all male, all wealthy founding fathers. Freedoms for them and the heck with anyone else.

    April 13, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. SlaveWorld

    They all talk Freedom even though they don't agree on what that is and then they spread it with bomb$

    April 13, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Another Rudy in NYC

    I agree 100% with Rudy. Only arms like musket, cannons mortars, and bombs were supposed to be part of the second amendment. Just like free speech only applies to town criers and hand printed books and papers. Obviously things like computers, TV, radio and the like were not in our founding father's minds and the govermnent has the absolute right to restrict free speech only any technology invetned after 1800.

    April 13, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. enkephalin07

    Oh, screw him. The point of that Amendment, which was repeated over and over in correspondence between the authors and supporting delegates, was that the people be armed as well or better than the government, and only when government is forced to govern with courtesy to that fact will there be freedom. And stale cardboard establishment products like Romney want to co-opt it to blame someone else while burying the original intent.

    April 13, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Viper

    Well I tell you I live in Massachusetts and you can't own a gun without giving up your first born. And, those laws weren't put in place by our current govenor. Thanks Mitt

    April 13, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. 4pease

    Romneytron will say anything to anyone to get elected, including the vile NRA, a legal terroist organization spreading a gospel of paranoia, hatred of government, and vigilantism. Their liberal gun laws and loopholes that defy any amount of reason have enabled the least stable in our society to arm themselves to the teeth, while rejecting even the slightest acceptance of responsibility for the consequences of poor judgment of gun owners. Whether it be stand your ground laws or protecting those irresponsible owners who allow children to access their guns and kill other innocent children, they are feeble minded morally abhorrent group that refuses to join civilized society.

    April 13, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. Brian

    "A WELL REGULATED MILITIA BEING NECESSARY TO THE SECURITY OF A FREE STATE, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    Why does the first part of this amendment always get left off when people refer to the second amendment? Is it because of the word "regulated?" Or is it because "militia" sounds ridiculous in the 21st century when we have the National Guard and Department of Defense?

    April 13, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. DC Johnny

    Thanks, John. Another liberal who not only doesn't understand the Stand Your Ground law, but spouts his mouth off every chance he gets from his eSoapbox to try and persuade others to join his ignorant cause.

    Stand Your Ground is a necessary law – one which puts the power back in the hands of the afflicted and out of the hands of the assailants. Not every murder is the result of a Stand Your Ground law. If the facts point to Zimmerman following Martin peacefully, and then Martin inexplicably jumping on and ferociously beating Zimmerman, then Zimmerman would be within his rights to use deadly force, as he should have been. However, if he simply overreacted to what he saw and drew his weapon without fear of his life being in jeopardy, then that law DOES NOT EVEN APPLY TO THIS CASE.

    You liberals can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't pretend this law applies to a case where it may not, and then berate the law, and berate all gun owners.

    That's ludicrous.

    Send the legal bills for the Trayvon Martin case to the NRA. The NRA pushed this "stand your ground" law through with republican support so they can sell more guns. Now we're all stuck with a law that makes it legal to gun people down wherever you want. So the taxpayer gets stuck with the bill for lawyers arguing whether or not Zimmerman has the right to kill people. The NRA is directly responsible for this colossal waste of taxpayer money. This Martin case is just the beginning and we have to pick up the tab while the NRA makes money.

    April 13, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Jim

    Actually woodofpine, the lines to which you refer are:
    In orrder to maintain a well formed militia. With that said, that amendment was written before the US had a standing army. And I don't imagine the founders intended the common man to own assault riffles. Just wondering, what animal do you hunt that requires 30+ high-velocity rounds?

    April 13, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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