(MOTHERJONES) — In the last four years, the National Rifle Association has accused President Barack Obama of plotting to ban handguns, quintuple the price of ammunition, eliminate the entire legal construct of “self defense,” and working with the United Nations to do everything short of taking Charlton Heston’s Glock from his cold dead hands—although surely that will come in due time. Few organizations have done as much of the nation’s leading gun lobby to gin up right-wing fears about the President’s secret motives—a sinister agenda that could end, NRA president Wayne LaPierre warned in February, with the end of freedom and the collapse of America as we know it.
Their reward: A meeting on Friday with the man who just might be the next President. For the NRA, Mitt Romney’s speech at their annual convention in St. Louis (alongside luminaries like Ted “suck on my machine gun” Nugent) was continued validation of their privileged status in national politics; for Romney, it was a reminder of just how far he’s willing to go prove to conservatives he’s one of them. Even if it means speaking to a group whose recent rhetoric would make the Birchers blush.