Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has had trouble demonstrating familiarity with hunting and firearms. His sometimes tenuous relationship with gun owners will be in the spotlight when he addresses the National Rifle Association tomorrow at its convention in St. Louis, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. NRA members who vastly prefer Romney to President Obama but look warily at his time as governor of Massachusetts, his support for certain gun control measures, and his sometimes half-cocked attempts to describe himself as an outdoorsman.
At times, Romney has boasted of his independence from the NRA and once vowed that he would not “chip away” at tough gun laws in Massachusetts. As many NRA members see it, Romney is just not one of them. “He’s not a sportsman. He’s not a gun guy,” said Ray Kohout, a lifetime NRA member and principal of Heizer Firearms, a pistol manufacturer in St. Louis. “He’s trying to be one, and he’ll try to be one at the NRA convention, but that’s just not his real person.” While running against Democratic icon Ted Kennedy in 1994, Romney supported the Brady Bill, which instituted background checks on gun purchases, and a federal assault weapons ban.