WASHINGTON, April 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Democratic National Committee: Smooth talking Mitt Romney heads to South Carolina today, one day after skipping his first National Rifle Association Annual Meeting since purchasing a "lifetime" NRA membership in August. While Romney has told audiences that he is "after the NRA's endorsement," he dodged the NRA convention in St. Louis despite being in the same town at the same time for a fundraiser. Romney's decision to duck the NRA meeting raises important questions. Was Romney afraid to be ridiculed by real NRA members over his claim to have been a hunter "pretty much all my life," despite having never been issued a hunting license and having been on just two hunting trips? [Associated Press, 4/05/07; Associated Press, 04/06/07] Or was Romney simply trying to avoid explaining his real record on gun control issues? A new analysis of Romney's gun control record by prominent gun owner's rights activist Dave Kopel found that Romney "has a thin record to back up his claims of support for the Second Amendment." Not only is there "little evidence of executive leadership by Romney on Second Amendment rights," but Kopel noted that "Romney occasionally considered the Democratic-dominated Massachusetts legislature too soft on gun owners." Kopel also highlights that, as part of the $500 million in new fees Romney imposed on Bay State taxpayers, Romney quadrupled the fee for a Firearms Identification card (FID). [National Review Online, 4/11/07] "Either Mitt Romney's brand new NRA lifetime membership card wasn't activated in time to get him into the convention or Romney was afraid he wouldn't be able to smooth talk his way out of his record on gun issues," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "Either way, Palmetto State voters are right to wonder what else Romney is willing to say to convince them to ignore his record on the issues they care about." Romney's Rifle Pander Misfires Romney in 1994: Gun Policies "Not Going to Make Me the Hero of the NRA." After signaling support for the assault rifle ban and the Brady gun control law, Romney said, "That's not going to make me the hero of the NRA." He added, "I don't line up with a lot of special interests groups." He echoed that theme in his gubernatorial campaign when he said, "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." [Boston Herald, 9/23/94] -- Prominent Activist Dave Kopel: "Little Evidence" of Romney Leadership. Kopel found that Romney "has a thin record to back up his claims of support for the Second Amendment." Not only is there "little evidence of executive leadership by Romney on Second Amendment rights," but Kopel noted that, "Romney occasionally considered the Democratic- dominated Massachusetts legislature too soft on gun owners." Kopel also highlights that, as part of the $500 million in new fees Romney imposed on Bay State taxpayers, Romney quadrupled the fee for a Firearms Identification card (FID). [National Review Online, 4/11/07] Romney Today: I'm After the NRA's Endorsement. Romney told a Derry, New Hampshire audience, "I'm after the NRA's endorsement. I'm not sure they'll give it to me. I hope they will." [Associated Press, 4/4/07] Romney Became "Lifetime" NRA Member...LAST AUGUST. "Mitt Romney, who has touted his support of gun owners since launching his presidential campaign, yesterday acknowledged he did not become a member of the National Rifle Association until last August, campaign officials said. A former advocate of gun control, Romney during his 1994 run for the US Senate backed measures the gun-rights group opposed, such as a five-day waiting period on gun sales and a ban on certain assault weapons. The former Massachusetts governor has been criticized for changing his positions to appeal to social conservatives voting in Republican primaries." [Boston Globe, 2/19/07] Romney: I've Been a Hunter "Pretty Much All My Life." During an appearance in Keene, New Hampshire, Romney touted his hunting credentials to a man wearing a National Rifle Association cap. Romney said, "I support the Second Amendment. 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." [Associated Press, 4/4/07] But Romney's Been Hunting TWICE. Romney has only been hunting twice: as a 15-year-old; and last year, when he attended an outing of major donors to the Republican Governors Association on a fenced gaming preserve in Georgia. [New York Times, 4/6/07; Associated Press, 4/4/07] And Romney's Never Held a Hunting License. Romney asserts that he hunted as a teenager mainly in Utah where a license is not required to hunt small game and animals. However, a recently passed law prevents public access to Romney's hunting license. Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Michigan officials report that Romney was never issued a license to hunt. [Associated Press, 4/8/07] Romney Misled Public About Gun Ownership. Romney also told the online The Glenn and Helen Show that, "I have a gun of my own." Later, Romney was forced to admit to reporters in Orlando that he in fact did not personally own any guns. [Boston Globe, 1/14/06] Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, http://www.democrats.org. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
SOURCE Democratic National Committee