COMMENTARY | As a way to unify the conservative base in the upcoming general election, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meeting. In his speech, he addressed concerns among NRA members of his “too moderate” stance and reassured them that he will be a strong defender of gun control unlike the current president.
“We need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters and sportsmen, and those seeking to protect their homes and their families. President Obama has not. I will. And if we are going to safeguard our Second Amendment, it is time to elect a president who will defend the rights President Obama ignores or minimizes,” Romney said.
Romney has had a rocky relationship with the NRA. As governor of Massachusetts, his backing of laws – 400 percent increase of gun fees, additional waiting period to purchase firearms, and a federal assault weapons ban – has produced distrust and sometimes even outright hostility, from some gun owners. But on Friday, his speech had a warm reception as he promised to restore and protect the 2nd Amendment of the right to bear arms.
“The right to bear arms comes from our creator, not from our government,” he said, to rousing applause. “Far fewer women would be raped, far fewer children would be killed … and far fewer dictators would survive if people had the right to bear arms everywhere on the planet.”
There were several top Republican politicians present at the event such as Sen. Rick Santorum, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, who were also scheduled to speak. Notably absent were the top Democratic politicians.
The national outcry after the unarmed shooting of teenager, Trayvon Martin has renewed the interest on gun legislation and the seemingly lenient self-defense laws it has encouraged. With many Republicans supporting the NRA and the Democrats deafening silence on the issue, this lack in dialogue allows for gun control to be a major problem in American society.
According to a Gallup poll, 3 out of 10 American have a gun in their household. In order for there to be meaningful dialogue on the issue, gun owners must be convinced that responsible ownership will be a protected right that will not be impeded by overly-restrictive regulations. Once this has been established then sensible amendments to existing gun control laws could happen such as the amendment of “Stand-Your-Ground” or the prohibition of firearms within school property. But not until there is intelligent dialogue on gun legislation which isn’t based on partisan allegiances, guns will continue to be a huge problem in this country.