Nobody Tell the NRA That It Already Won

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 13 2012 3:07 PM

Nobody Tell the NRA That It Already Won

For a hot couple of minutes, the National Rifle Association was taking a little bit of criticism. After George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin and (temporarily) managed to avoid arrest, journalists started to point out that the NRA had backed Stand Your Ground legislation in Florida, and that the pro-Second Amendment Group had donated to Republicans who backed the law.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

It did not last. Just like in January 2011, when talk about post-Gabrielle Giffords gun laws went nowhere, there was no serious, national political talk about a second look at "Stand Your Ground." (It's a little different in Florida, but not even Democrats there are getting loud about the law.)

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But the total defeat and withdrawal of Democrats on guns has affected NRA rhetoric not at all. Before Mitt Romney spoke to the NRA's conference in St. Louis, both of the organization's honchos, Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre, promised the audience that a re-elected President Obama would reveal his true anti-gun agenda. Victory in November would mean a "pro-Second Amendment" Congress, said Cox -- as if the current arrangement of Congress can or would do anything anti-gun.

This was where the awkward coronation of Mitt Romney came in. The de facto GOP nominee gave a 20-minute speech about "freedom" -- which he mentioned 31 times. The idea that Barack Obama was coming after guns was included in an aside.

The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they’ve been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it.
I applaud true conservationists like Rob Keck who work to preserve lands, herds and flocks for hunting. I applaud Ambassador Bolton for opposing international efforts to erode our rights.  I applaud Congressman Issa and Senator Grassley for their work in exposing the “Fast and Furious” scandal.  And I applaud NRA leadership for being among the first and most vocal in calling upon Attorney General Holder to resign.
We need a President who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners. 

That was the only time Romney mentioned the word "gun." But he did indulge the "worst is yet to come" theory, offering that Obama's "flexibility" comment to President Medvedev meant that "in a second term, he'd be a lot less restrained."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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