A Walther handgun is displayed at the Smith & Wesson booth at the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada, January 29, 2011. REUTERS

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has attacked President Barack Obama's record on gun control during a speech to the National Rifle Association, echoing dire warnings issued by NRA president Wayne LaPierre.

Continuing his shift into general election mode, Romney will reassure attendees at an annual NRA meeting in St. Louis that he will preserve their second amendment rights while criticizing Obama.

We need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and those seeking to protect their homes and their families. President Obama has not; I will, Romney said. And if we are going to safeguard our Second Amendment, it is time to elect a president who will defend the rights President Obama ignores or minimizes. I will.

In a recent column for NRA's magazine, LaPierre wrote that Obama would eviscerate the Second Amendment completely and forever if elected. The 2012 election, LaPierre contended, will literally be a struggle for the survival of freedom in America.

Either we defeat Barack Obama and retain all the benefits of our pro-gun victories over the past 30 years-from the Firearms Owners' Protection Act and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, to the Right-to-Carry revolution, Castle Doctrine, hunter protection and landmark victories in the U.S. Supreme Court-or we lose this election and lose it all, LaPierre wrote. Everything you and I, and gun owners across America have fought to achieve over the past three decades could be lost as a result of just one presidential election.

Obama Record: Not Gun Rights Restricting

But the president's record offers scant evidence to support such ominous rhetoric. Obama has not moved to restrict gun rights, despite suggestions that he would tackle the issue after a shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona during which former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ari., was shot in the head. Obama also signed a bill with an amendment permitting people to carry firearms in national parks.

LaPierre and Romney are pushing the theory that Obama has been dissembling, waiting until he is re-elected to pursue his gun control campaign. Romney has taken to citing a recent incident in which Obama was captured on microphone telling Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have more flexibility to pursue missile defense after the election as an indication of Obama's duplicity.

I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that, but looking at his first three years, I have a very good idea, Romney said at the NRA gathering.

Similarly, LaPierre has said Obama is simply biding his time. He warned attendees at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in our country.

Fears of a crackdown on gun rights prompted a spike in firearms sales after Obama's election. Federal tax revenue from gun and ammunition sales also rose steeply as a result.