Mitt Romney’s Position on The Right to Bear Arms (The 2nd Amendment)

by Joseph Delli Gatti
June 1, 2016

Recently, in a televised interview, Donald Trump for President campaign manager Corey Lewandowski made the claim that if Mitt Romney were to run for President, that our 2nd Amendment rights would be confiscated by the federal government.  The underlying message plays to Trump-supporters’ fears that liberals are attempting to establish or to fortify a new-world-order Socialist government that can control the population via gun-control measures such as those found in the United Nations Small Arms Treaty.

The United Nations (UN) was founded in 1945 as an international forum and a mechanism for countries to collaborate or to make treaties with one another.  Some alleged conservative groups recognize these treaties and agreements as attempts to establish international law, which would aid in establishing an international governing force to which the US would submit itself as a subservient state.

Using the threat of abolishing the 2nd Amendment sparks fear in the hearts of gun and freedom lovers on the right wing – and Donald Trump’s Campaign manager knows it.  But you won’t see the Trump campaign using this same threat in the presence of large liberal audiences – in fact, recent statements to liberal audiences hint that he was engaging in political pillow talk and that he’s flexible.  Why does Donald Trump’s message seem so inconsistent between audiences?

This is because between “Progressive” Liberals and “Constitutional” Conservatives lies a grand chasm – an abyss void of common ground on the subject of the common citizen’s right to bear arms.  Liberals claim that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are antiquated, and that the true intention of the 2nd Amendment was to permit states to arm their makeshift armies until a national military could be established.  Guns result in shooting deaths, and guns that hold lots of bullets roughly equals lots of deaths.

Conservatives claim that a God-given right exists for people to use guns for hunting, for engaging in sport, for having as a wall or pickup-truck trophy, and mainly to protect themselves, their family, and their communities against those who might try to steal their land or their stuff, and who may try to harm or usurp unrighteous power over them – including the government.  They claim that more guns and more bullets equals more power, and therefore more security.  So, does Donald Trump’s claim hold true stating that Mitt Romney would result in the loss of the 2nd Amendment from our Bill of Rights?

After a significant amount of research conducted on Mitt Romney both before and during  his run for Senator of Massachusetts in 2002, and during his 2012 general-election Presidential campaign, his position on the 2nd Amendment has only become more bold concerning the 2nd Amendment as it has been understood and commonly professed by the Republican party.

The Second Amendment is essential to the functioning of our free society. Mitt strongly supports the right of all law-abiding Americans to exercise their constitutionally protected right to own firearms and to use them for lawful purposes, including hunting, recreational shooting, self-defense, and the protection of family and property. Like the majority of Americans, Mitt does not believe that the United States needs additional laws that restrict the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.” – MittRomney.com (2012 Campaign Website).

Mitt Romney’s stance has never been to take people’s right to bear arms away. So where do the rumors find any merit at all?  Beyond the Trump campaigns threats, in 2012, Mitt Romney’s competition in the Republican presidential primaries made similar embellished claims – using the fact that he governed the most liberal state in the US as fodder.

A Romney supporter holds her sign proudly at a rally held in one of the battleground states
A Romney supporter holds her sign proudly at a rally held in one of the battleground states

While Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, a bill was signed into law that more narrowly defined assault weapons from an earlier ban, and it restricted the sales of certain assault weapons while expanding people’s ability to purchase firearms in general. Some saw the bill as a compromise while some saw it as an “assault-weapons ban”.  Many conservatives in the state saw it as an expansion of 2nd Amendment rights. Also important to note was that this was for a liberal state demanding more strict gun laws – where only roughly 35 percent of voters at the time were Republicans (estimating about 10 percent conservative). The law was for a specific state – not for the whole country, and it actually allowed more people to own personal firearms. Gun-rights organizations and advocates came together with anti-2nd-Amendment advocates and crafted this bi-partisan bill, which Mitt signed into law for that state in 2004.  In 2012, the NRA was aware of the legislation and endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

Mitt Romney’s stance may have evolved to a small degree over time as he gained experience and pondered the issue to greater depth; however, I was unable to find any quotes, speeches, or platform positions denoting that he was ever against 2nd Amendment rights. Mitt Romney’s emphasis (which has remained pretty constant over the years) has been that it’s not guns that kill people, it’s criminals that kill innocent people – and that those criminals ought to be harshly punished for using guns to kill, hurt or threaten innocent people. He has made it clear form the earliest quotes that I can find that people who use guns lawfully for sport, for hunting, and for protection of their land and their families, should not have their rights infringed upon. He is a strong believer that the Constitution is a sacred document, and that it should be protected.

At the height of the general election in 2012, Mitt Romney had a major interview in England being broadcast worldwide, where the interviewer tried to use the recent influx in public shootings to pressure pressure Mitt to denounce guns and gun rights.

Mitt responded, “The truth is, there’s no particular change in law that is going to keep people who are intent on doing harm from doing harm. …[quoting a Democrat] ‘Gun laws aren’t going to keep evil people from doing evil things.’ …We do have a 2nd Amendment, and I respect the right of people to bear arms for any legal purpose.

“…Telling a deranged person that you’re breaking the law isn’t going to keep them from doing terrible things, and hurting people. We, of course, have all sorts of laws against bombs and making bombs, but this individual had bombs in his apartment. If he didn’t have a gun, he’d have used a bomb. The idea that somehow the instrument of violence, if one could make it illegal, would keep someone from doing something illegal, …I just don’t think it’s a policy that will be successful.

“…Pierce, I don’t support more gun laws in our country – we have a lot of gun laws now. We have background checks and other restrictions on gun ownership in our country; but as you say, we have over 300 million guns in America; we have a 2nd Amendment that protects the right of the people to bear arms – I support that. I think that the effort to look for some law that will somehow make violence go away is missing the point. The real point has to relate to individuals who are deranged and who are distressed – to find them, to help them, and to keep them from carrying out terrible acts.

“Timothy McVeigh – how many people did he kill? – with fertilizer – with products that can be purchased legally anywhere in the world. He was able to carry out vast mayhem. Somehow thinking that laws against the instruments of violence will make violence go away, I think, is misguided.”