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)

    The right to bear arms is killing our people. There is no good in supporting that which is distructive. Wake up and say something that for once Americans can say "you know, there is a possiblity that he has a brain after all". Hah, no way ! brainless.

    April 13, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Me

    There aren't too many inventions that can be created in the corner of a garage that haven't already been made. I don't think there are going to be to many events in the future like Bob inventing the glue gun by bumping his TV dinner tray with his cigarette. And even if there are, I can't imaging the kinds of regulations that would restrict it right off the bat. Usually, what happens is new businesses are killed by a law suit when someone gets hurt by a product that wasn't well thought out like s simple crib or a toy that's painted with toxic chemicals.

    April 13, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Georgiabelle

    I have a question for all you white liberals out there: When the race war you are trying so hard to stir up actually starts, do you think the mobs are going to stop and ask if you are a liberal or a conservative before they shoot you?

    April 13, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. Bob Loblaw

    With the various shooting tragedies, people assume that all weapons are bad. People make assumptions based on the available information, which are inevitably tragic. Most, if not all of these crimes are committed by people who did not legally acquire them. I would much rather be able to defend myself against a crazy with a gun, but that doesn't mean every person with a gun is a "crazy".

    April 13, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. weR4freedom

    Well said Mitt. Independents and Hard Working Moms Vote 4 Mitt!

    Romney 2012/2016

    April 13, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. Patrick

    So the only gun legislation to pass since obama took office reduces the restrictions on carrying guns on Federal property. Once again, the entire speech is a lie. Republicans should try running against an actual candidate not one they made up.

    April 13, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. Jan930

    Freedom but make women like the Middle East women. Give me a break.

    April 13, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Me Too

    @Me – and when that happens... everyone yells, "where were the regulators??"

    April 13, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. Amanda Wolf

    Mitt romney is wrong and attacking, as usual. Is he kidding:the NRA IS A REPUBLICAN FORUM! So he is condeming his own party! "his "right to bear arms" claim was done in a war time, when citizens had to defend their homes from "free raiders", so need drove the founders, not rationality! Plus I bet romney has hunted animlals so his acting is another flip flop. 🙂 today, a british news channel published that mitt romney salary is much higher than that of President Obama! 😦 How can a simple ex governor get paid far more than our President? While Obama only gets paid 7 hundred thousand a year, miit romney gets paid millions :(((( Plus romney still reuses to disclose his tax payments ! This liar does not deserve the presidency. Rather, he should be impeached. No wonder walker bush endorsed him. Pair of criminals!

    April 13, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. grive

    why would mitt waste his time on a convention where he already knows hell get the votes. wouldnt it be better to go out and talk to the people who really dont know you. Maybe its a confidence builder. i also think its poor planning to go into an event like this with no facts on how mr. obama is going to try to take away your firearms.

    April 13, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Doc

    And yet another non-issue has suddenly beome front and center for the Republicans. Abortion, birth control, gay rights and now guns. Seems like I've heard this before. Wasn't there a run on ammunition after President Obama was elected because someone spread the rumor that he would tighten regulations on the supply of bullets (that never happened)?
    Oh and now that you mention it, the fast and furious campaign was a continuation of a campaign under the previous administration. Same old same old, pander, pander, pander, fear mongering.

    April 13, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. vet in tx

    I want any conservative poster on this board to name for me one thing Obama has done since he's taken office, that even infers that he will do something regarding the 2nd amendment.

    He's actually expanded it so that you can carry weapons in national parks.....this is nothing more that pandering for dollars from idiots who got hustled when the mantra was "Obama's gone' take ur guns".

    Remember how much you paid for those assault rifles at double the cost, how much you paid for ammo as you believed "Obama taxed ammo, thats why it's so high".........the whole audience there will leave with a blow pop stamp on their foreheads......suckers each and everyone. The main "freedom" you say Obama is taking away......the guy your forced to vote for.........created it! Hilarious!

    Now you'll see the racism towards "Joseph Smith" believers as some stay home because Mitt doesn't "have your values".........

    April 13, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Bob

    Find a single control law proposed by the Obama administration. You can't because there hasn't been one, but if you only get your news from corporate (foreign-owned) fear and hate mongers like Fox, you would think that Obama was personally going into people's houses and taking away grandma's shotgun. Of all the people currently running for President, Obama is the only one who HASN'T voted for or signed a gun control law. Mittens signed the toughest assault rifle ban in the country when he was governor. Under Obama (even before the 2010 elections) most gun control laws have loosened. Of course a direct rise in violent crime and police deaths occurred but I'm sure that just a random coincidence...

    April 13, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. paying attention

    The only piece of legislation that President Obama has signed regarding guns has been an EXPANSION of gun owners' rights – the ability to carry in National Parks. Way to spread the fear, NRA....

    April 13, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Jason

    As governor of Mass, didn't he restrict some gun ownership?

    April 13, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "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."

    That's it. Two distinguished parts: The first justifies a regulated militia (an army); the second notwithstanding the first.

    The infringements have given us armed thugs and unarmed law-abiders - the norm (See: D.C. and Chicago) and the freedom has given us the exceptions Tuscon.

    April 13, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    OMG I was going to vote for him, but if he keeps on pandering to every group he doesn't really in his heart believe in.....I'll have to change my vote or not vote at all. Give me a break, doesn't want to disclose because of security reasons....lol, lol, lol....Is this the reincarnate of the wealthy Senator Kerry?

    April 13, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Flash

    He was for gun control before he was against it.

    April 13, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. jjg

    OMG, If he keeps pandering to groups which in his heart he really doesn't support,. I may have to change my vote. Is this the reincarnate of John Kerry, US Senator? LOL, doesn't want to disclose because of security reasons...lol, lol, lol

    April 13, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. DSBsky

    Romney is garbage. His policies are worthless and his idea of helping people, is cutting jobs where he works, in the thousands.. This man "if he can be called one" is the perfect example, of everything that is wrong, with this country. I'm not some broke guy, crying. I do well. I just see it, in everything he says and does. He lies to placate people, gullable enough to believe him. Then he buys them, with 20 million in commericials, in every state. It's insulting and disgusting.. Ron Paul 2012 or America is a lost cause..

    April 13, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. Scott

    Obama has done nothing but wage war on all Americans, black m,white, brown and all woman in fact on all except UNION members. Anyone saying other wise is brain dead to the facts.

    Wade, You do realize the "union members" aren't a different gender and race altogether, right? There are blacks "m" whites, brown and women IN unions. So to say he's waging a war on these people, but helping those same people, makes me wonder if maybe you're "brain dead to the facts", because I'm pretty sure that's a thing...

    April 13, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. 4pease

    Perhaps Romney can go helicopter huntin' with Sarah Palin. Two equally ballsy people.

    April 13, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. FlotsamJetsam

    Mitt Romney needs to go and bow at the altar of the NRA. I don't think Mitt is a real gun person (I may be wrong) .but the NRA has the Republican party in its back pocket. Virtually all of the pro-gun legislation has been passed by the republicans. Stand your Ground is another fabulous idea that emanated from the NRA. We have the mess in Sanford FL because of all that. It is a license to kill but hey the NRA would say it is about personal protection.

    I think most people are for gun ownership under the second amendment, but the NRA backs a lot of extreme legislation. Silencers for hunting weapons? Seriously. they are a joke and a grave danger to this country.

    April 13, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. the Situation

    Romney = The Ultimate Opportunist!

    April 13, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Ricardo

    Mitt is a moron

    April 13, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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