Gun-rights groups perceive President Barack Obama as a threat to unfettered access to firearms. They once had qualms about Mitt Romney, too.
But times and circumstances have changed for Romney, the GOP presidential nominee now in tune with the National Rifle Association and similar organizations, whose members are motivated voters.
In the tight White House race, every bit of support helps, especially in the most closely contested states and particularly from groups that claim millions of members nationwide.
Romney’s prior embrace of weapon-control proposals had put him crossways with the NRA and others. These days, Romney is on their good side by opposing renewal of a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons, additional regulations on gun shows and suggested federal gun registration requirements.
The NRA and some less prominent organizations are spending big money on mailings, radio ads, TV commercials and booths at game fairs to promote the former Massachusetts governor and portray Obama as hostile to gun rights.
Gun groups are an important part of an outdoor enthusiast network that neither side is willing to concede.