Skip to comments.Romney, self-described lifelong hunter, has hunted on two occasions
Posted on 04/05/2007 12:47:51 PM PDT by mrhansen
BOSTON - To hear Mitt Romney talk on the campaign trail, you might think the Republican presidential candidate had a gun rack in the back of his pickup truck.
"I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," he said this week in Keene, N.H., to a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap.
Yet the former Massachusetts governor's hunting experience is limited to two trips at the bookends of his 60 years: as a 15-year-old, when he hunted rabbits with his cousins on a ranch in Idaho, and last year, when he shot quail on a fenced game preserve in Georgia.
Last year's trip was an outing with major donors to the Republican Governors Association, which Romney headed at the time.
An aide said Wednesday that Romney was not trying to mislead anyone, although he confirmed Romney had been hunting only on those occasions in his life.
"Governor Romney's support for the Second Amendment doesn't come from the fact he knows how to handle a firearm; it comes from his appreciation of the Constitution and the rights enshrined in it, including the right to keep and bear arms," said campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom.
He went on to cite the pro-gun measures Romney signed into law while serving as governor from 2003 to this past January.
Romney himself made several of the same points to the Keene audience, while also trying to offer some perspective on his hunting experience.
"I support the Second Amendment," he told the man who had asked about his views on the constitutional right to bear arms. "I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life. I've never really shot anything terribly big. I used to hunt rabbits."
Romney added: "Shooting a rabbit with a single-shot .22 is pretty hard, and after watching me try for a couple of weeks, (my cousins) said, 'We'll slip you the semiautomatic. You'll do better with that.' And I sure did."
On the Georgia excursion, he said, "I knocked quite a few birds and enjoyed myself a great deal."
Expressing familiarity with and support for gun rights is key among Republican presidential contenders, who count gun owners, members of the military and the NRA itself among their potential supporters.
It helps explain why Romney joined the NRA last August, signing up not just as a supporter but a designated "Lifetime" member, and why he has softened his gun control positions.
Romney told a Derry, N.H., audience, "I'm after the NRA's endorsement. I'm not sure they'll give it to me. I hope they will. I also joined because if I'm going to ask for their endorsement, they're going to ask for mine."
During a 1994 U.S. Senate campaign, Romney positioned himself as a moderate outsider, warning special interest groups to stay out of the race and saying he supported the Brady gun control law and a ban on assault rifles.
"That's not going to make me the hero of the NRA," he told the Boston Herald at the time. "I don't line up with a lot of special interest groups."
It's a theme he carried into his 2002 gubernatorial campaign. At the time, Romney pledged to do nothing to change the state's firearms statutes.
"We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won't chip away at them. I believe they protect us and provide for our safety," he said.
True to his word, Romney went on to sign one of the toughest assault weapons laws in the country.
Romney, though, also took steps to protect the rights of gun owners as governor.
The assault weapons ban won the backing of Massachusetts gun owners in part because it included provisions extending the term of a firearms identification card and a license to carry weapons from four to six years. It also created a Firearm License Review Board to provide an appeals process for people whose license applications had been denied.
In 2006, Romney also signed NRA-backed legislation creating exemptions for the makers of customized target pistols who had found it too expensive to sell their guns in Massachusetts because of a state regulation requiring them to test at least five examples of new products "until destruction."
In February, Romney was touting such measures as he and his wife, Ann, toured the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Orlando, Fla., with Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president.
"I'm proud to be among the many decent, law-abiding men and women who safely use firearms," Romney said.
Yeah, he supports the Second Amendment, but only enough to get him elected...
My support of the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban are not going to make me the hero of the NRA....I don’t line up with the NRA.”
— Mitt Romney, 1994
“I have a gun of my own. I go hunting myself. I’m a member of the NRA and believe firmly in the right to bear arms.”
— Mitt Romney, 2007
I’m guessing that’s one more time hunting than John Kerry—
and Kerry’s was that GOTV-in-Ohio trip (can I get me a huntin’ license here?)
This NRA Benefactor member says “NO to fakes!”
This is troubling. Also his long time friendship with the socialist mayor of Salt Lake City is more than troubling.
He’s a fake; probably worse that Rudy on self-defense.
Fred Thompson for President!
I really don’t dislike Romney.
However I once shot a bird with a BB gun (felt terrible). I also sat against a tree waiting to shoot a squirrel or rabbit with a .22 long rifle only to find all creatures had moved out of the woods that day.
Neither event makes me a hunter.
1 I keep seeing this story they are just trying to ruin Romney.
2 The difference between a guy who has gone on two hunting outings and supports gun and hunting rights, versus a gun grabbing liberal, is as wide as Hilary's thighs.
The guy has hunted and strongly supports the Second Amendment. Hunted as a boy, hunted as a man. Which part of this should offend hunters? In what way is he not a hunter?
Not everyone is a Jeremiah Johnson hunting and skinning griz every day.
My husband is an NRA member, a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment, owns and uses guns and has never hunted in his life. Big deal. We’re electing a president not a big game hunter.
I’ve pretty much written off Giuliani after his recent, really stupid abortion comment. Sure CNN fished for it, and the media has run with it, but Rudy said it.
Still, I think Mitt Romney is hopeless. He’s a shifty liar, frankly. He twists and turns with the political winds. This isn’t the first time.
You don’t have to be a hunter to support the Second Amendment. This kind of tall story, gratuitously told, is really pretty disgusting. He simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth or keep a promise.
While I am not a Romney supporter, shall we compare this, shall I say, discrepancy, with Hillary’s faux cluelessness about the billing records of the Rose Law firm?
I am sure that Freepers have quite a list of Hillaryisms to post.
... he was merely hoping they'd assume he hunted often and not look into it.
I’m afraid two hunting experiences separated by decades does not qualify one as a “lifelong hunter.” In my opinion, that’s more than a “stretch,” it’s basically a lie. Not good for Romney.
Uh...it’s not just about hunting.
Did you not see his response to the Assault Weapons Ban back in 1994?
Yeah, ok...vote for a Republican from Massachusetts...see what you get.
And I’m guessing your husband doesn’t go around pretending to be a hunter.
Why lie? What does this accomplish? I’ve never hunted in my life, but I support gun rights. Why didn’t he just tell the truth and say he supports gun rights. Now he looks like a fool.
If he hunted when he was a boy and then again when he was an adult. He would have hunted all his life.
I agree with you in the sense that I don’t care if he has ever hunted a day in his life. Again I do NOT dislike Romney.
But if he claims he was a “lifelong hunter” and has only hunted twice you have to wonder what other parts of his resume he is “embellishing”.
I think the point is that Romney lied.
Opps, Romney is from The People’s gun-unfriendly Republic of Mass. Is this even possible for him?
Well, he could get a Florida permit which is good for 5 years in most of the states that honor out of state permits.
I’ve said it before. He is a businessman trying to make a deal. And that theory just doesn’t work when trying to win voters.
Unfortunatly for him we aren’t going to want some guy whose very core is squishy.
Yeah, Mitt, because semi-autos are much more deadly than single-shots, eh? He sure knows a lot about guns and hunting!
Mitt supports banning “assault weapons” at the Federal level, and actually banned “assault weapons” while governor, claiming that civilians have no use for the deadly guns whose only purpose is hunting down and shooting people.
He supported Brady, and claims now that that support is somehow moot because we have the Instant Background Check system.
Go RKBA Mitt! He owned a gun before he didn't own one, and is now claiming he bought one.
He supports the Second Amendment as long as it does not cover “assault weapons”, whatever he thinks they are.
Great line! Too bad he voted for the assault weapons ban. Such an action cannot be undone. EVER!
He's a gun-grabber.
Supported the federal Assault Weapons Ban in 1994 and 2002, supported and signed into law a state AWB in Massachusetts.
Said he wasn't with groups like the NRA before joining the NRA as a life member right before running for president.
“I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life,”
Sounds like an Al Gore type fib. A shame that we haven’t been able to come up with better frontrunners than the three empty suits we have.
There is a reason why Romney telling a lie is more important than, say, Hillary being unable to tell the truth. The story is not so much about Romney as it is about the MSM agenda.
I caught a baseball with a glove.
Does that make me a baseball player?
“In what way is he not a hunter?”
He does not hunt and has banned guns. Actually signed a bill that banned vaguely definded classes of guns, some of which are actually used by hunters.
“Can I git me one of them thar’ huntin’ licenses here?”
You are joking. Right?
“why is this so important that it should come out?”
Because, if you think about it, if he’s not a hunter and does not own guns, but says that he is and that he does, that makes him less than honest.
That’s an important trait.
Wearing diapers as a baby and again when you're 90 and things stop working right doesn't mean you've worn diapers all your life.
Although if Mitt thought that would appeal to the Diaper Demographic....
Ive said it before. He is a businessman trying to make a deal. And that theory just doesnt work when trying to win voters.
Unfortunatly for him we arent going to want some guy whose very core is squishy.
But the best businessmen deal from a position of honesty.
Did you do this in the Keyword?
I wish we could click on the KW and see who did it?
Doesn’t make much difference to me - he isn’t going to make it very far in the primaries (along with a few others).
Also not a shock that professional politicians lie.
Anyone who wants to be our president and in the process tells a lie should be called out.
(I should note that Fred's a Republican and a staunch defender of the Bush Administration, so this was not meant in a mocking way).
Kinda like John Kerry explaining how he hunted deer, crawling through the woods etc.
I think Kerry was having a Viet Nam flashback.
Just because he joined the NRA has nothing to do with support of the 2nd Amendment. Beware Beware.
If hunting stories qualify a presidential candidate as pro-gun then I’d like to hear about his experiences that qualify him as pro-heterosexual—how many times, where, with whom, details....
Some of my good friends are Calvinist!
He supported the Assault Weapons Ban back in 94, but now he is claiming to be a pro-gun, all-American hunter type?
Yeah, ok...it’s only about hunting. /s
Maybe one of his wives does his own custom reloads while he is out on the campaign trail.
I guess I'd have to see you catch. LOL.
I am a lifelong dancer too. But never got paid for it. I danced when I was young and have taken it up again recently. I consider myself a lifelong dancer even though I didn't dance continuously. It's like riding a bike, catching a ball, shooting a gun, you never forget.
Feb 18 transcript in which Romney supports banning certain classes of firearms:
Stephanopoulos: Lets talk about guns. You were supportive of the Brady bill, the handgun waiting period, in the past. You signed an assault weapon ban into law and you said, in the past, I dont line up with the NRA.
Mitt Romney: Well, on that issue.
Stephanopoulos: Now youre a member of the NRA.
Mitt Romney: Yes, and I know the NRA does not support an assault weapon ban. So I dont line up on that particular issue with the NRA, either does President Bush. He likewise says he supported an assault weapon ban.
Today we dont have the Brady bill because we have instantaneous background checks. Thats no longer a operative or needed measure. [so please don’t diss me for supporting it...]
But Im a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights. I believe people, under our Constitution, have the right to bear arms. [Just not assault weapons whatever they are]
We have a gun in one of our homes. Its not owned by me, its owned by my son, but Ive always considered it sort of mine. [which is why I said I was a gun owner a month or so ago, but I’m really not]
Stephanopoulos: When did you join the NRA?
Mitt Romney: Within the last year and I signed up for a lifelong membership. I think theyre doing good things and I believe in supporting the right to bear arms. [exept “assault weapons” whatever they are]
Ive been a hunter all my life, not frequently, but as a boy, when I worked on a ranch in Idaho, we used to go out shooting rabbits, because they were eating all the barley, and I got pretty good with a single shot .22 rifle, and been quail hunting more recently*. [But now I claim not to be good with a single-shot. It took the power and deadliness of a semi-auto to get those rabbits!]
So Im a hunter and believe in Second Amendment rights, but I also believe that assault weapons are not needed in the public population.
Romney supports a Federal ban on Assault Weapons, but I doubt he knows what they are.
*Yet when the hunters who were at the Governor’s Association posed with their guns and birds, Romney was not in the picture for some reason).
There are phonies, and there are Massachusetts phonies, and then there are Romneys. This guy is in a league of his own.
Yeah, Mitt, because semi-autos are much more deadly than single-shots, eh? He sure knows a lot about guns and hunting!