September 20, 2017
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is behind a bill that would allow adults to carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin without a permit or training.
The proposal, Senate Bill 169, was recommended for passage Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. The measure, which was backed by about four dozen Republican legislators and no Democrats, eliminates the prohibition on carrying firearms into police stations, jails, prisons, and mental health facilities, unless those locations post signs to prohibit weapons on their grounds or in their buildings.
The proposal also eliminates the prohibition on carrying guns, bows and crossbows in wildlife refuges, and while operating all-terrain vehicles. The measure would allow people to carry tasers.
Currently, guns are prohibited on school grounds under federal law, unless the individual has a state concealed carry permit and the school does not post weapons prohibitions. This bill would maintain those provisions, but under a newly created basic permit, licensees would be able to carry weapons on unposted school grounds without training. Others who choose to carry concealed weapons without any permit would still not be able to have weapons on school grounds, whether posted or not.
This proposal is backed by the NRA, the nation’s largest and most controversial pro-gun lobby, and other pro-gun groups, including the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Firearms Coalition, Wisconsin Gun Owners, and Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs and Educators. The measure is opposed by more than two dozen groups representing schools, law enforcement, doctors, and religious organizations, among others.
In addition to its influential state and federal lobbying activities, the NRA generally supports conservative and Republican candidates for state and federal offices with direct contributions and outside electioneering activities.
In Wisconsin, the NRA has spent about $3.6 million since January 2008 on outside electioneering activities to support GOP and conservative legislative and statewide candidates, including about $23,400 on the legislative elections last fall. Nearly all of the NRA’s electioneering spending, about $3.5 million, was to support GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s 2010 general, 2012 recall and 2014 general elections.
In addition, the NRA contributed about $69,600 between January 2008 and June 2017 all to Republican and conservative legislative and statewide candidates through its state and federal political action committees (PACs).
Top recipients of NRA PAC contributions were Walker, $12,500, Sen. Alberta Darling, of River Hills, $3,000, and former Republican Sen. Pam Galloway, of Wausau, $2,500.