ST. LOUIS, MO — GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney tried to win over National Rifle Association members on Friday, delivering a speech at the NRA’s annual meeting in St. Louis. Romney — who has in the past supported numerous gun control measures — assured NRA members that he is one of them. “We need a President who will stand up for [gun rights],” Romney said. “President Obama has not; I will.” Also on Friday, Newt Gingrich, Romney’s remaining challenger for the Republican nomination for president, went all in, saying everyone in the world should own a gun.
ThinkProgress asked a number of NRA members attending the meetings in St. Louis about the candidates and it doesn’t appear that they’re buying Romney’s pitch. Moreover, not only did many say they preferred Gingrich over the former Massachusetts governor on gun issues, but most believed Romney either isn’t pro-gun or is pandering on gun issues to get their vote:
— “I just feel like [Gingrich is] more into the gun sporting and those aspects of — and also he’s a strong backer of the Second Amendment.
— “Well so far [Romney] hasn’t demonstrated himself as being, you know, highly pro-gun but you know there’s always hope.”
— “I would trust Newt more than I would Mitt on the guns. … I just think he’s more conservative.”
— “I’d rather have Newt Gingrich. … I think he’s more pro-gun.”
— “It seems like [Romney is] just kind of grabbing at straws to get popularity at this point so the gun issue was just yet another thing.”
— “I think maybe Gingrich [will support gun rights] more so than Romney.”
— “I heard Romney’s [speech]. I think he’s an idiot. And I’m a Republican. … I believe that people should stand up for their principles and I think that he panders to whoever he’s talking to.
Watch the interview clips:
Another NRA member told Bloomberg news that while Romney is “better than Obama,” voting for Romney “will be a hold-your-nose situation.”