Friday, October 07, 2011

NRA Lobbying for the Extreme

Finally after many years of Wisconsin rejecting their radical agenda, groups like the National Rifle Association finally got what they've wanted in Wisconsin. The new concealed carry law will go into effect on November 1st. But as is typical for people operating from such extremes, the new law apparently doesn't go far enough for the NRA. Earlier this week we learned that the NRA is now complaining because they don't like how Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is interpreting the new concealed carry law.

The main problem that the NRA has with the Wisconsin AG is that he apparently plans to require at least 4 hours of training. According to various polls, the majority of Wisconsinites don't even support the idea of people walking freely around carrying hidden handguns. One can imagine that those same people would probably support such a common sense measure that at least requires some sort of training. But that would be the reasonable approach and based on the NRA's lobbying efforts in Wisconsin over the last few legislative sessions, they have hardly been the voice of reason.

For example, here are some of their extreme positions as listed in Wisconsin's Eye on Lobbying database:

  • Not only have they been pushing extreme versions of concealed carry for years but they have also promoted and are currently lobbying for so-called "Castle Doctrine" legislation. Feeding an apparent Dirty Harry obsession, this legislation would allow people to become judge, jury, and executioner if an intruder enters their home or business. It wouldn't matter if the intruder was unarmed and it wouldn't matter if they were not an actual physical threat. You can still shoot to kill with few questions asked afterward. The latest version of this legislation continues to expand this license-to-kill. Apparently it now even covers someone "breaking into" your driveway. Recent reports also show that this free pass could continue expanding even further to adjoining sidewalks, business parking lots and farmland.
  • They have repeatedly lobbied against legislation that gives law enforcement more investigative tools, such as requiring microstamping. This opposition continues with a bill in the current legislative session. Mircostamping is a technology that imprints identifying information on bullet cartridges.
  • They oppose a current bipartisan bill that would treat a criminal the same if they use an actual firearm or a "facsimile firearm" during the commission of a crime. A "facsimile firearm" includes things like a replica, toy, starter pistol or anything else that could be reasonably perceived as being a real firearm.
  • They opposed legislation to prohibit a person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to possess a fire arm. Under the legislation, a person that violated that prohibition would be guilty of a felony and subject to a fine of up to $25,000 or up to 10 years in prison or both. This bill sought to create both a new state crime and a revised penalty for an existing crime.
  • The NRA opposed legislation that sought to extend the definition of domestic abuse to include harm or the threat of harm to animals that are owned by the petitioner of a domestic abuse restraining order.
  • They opposed legislation that required a record search before a handgun was transferred between two individuals (when a firearms dealer was not involved). The legislation only applied to the transfer of firearms in Milwaukee County.
  • Opposed bipartisan legislation that increased the penalty for discharging a firearm near a public park, square or an enclosure owned or controlled by a municipality. The legislation sought to increase the fine from up to $25 to up to $1,000. It also sought to increase the possible jail time from 60 days to 90 days.
  • The NRA supported legislation that sought to prohibit officials from exercising certain emergency powers during "emergencies resulting from an enemy action or natural or man-made disaster." This legislation specifically sought to limit officials abilities to restrict the possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display or use of firearms or ammunition during an emergency.
Given the extremists that lead the NRA, it shouldn't be a surprise that they would also lobby for the extreme in Wisconsin and in other state legislatures all across the country. What should be a surprise is how all-too-often obedient legislators and other officials dutifully bow to their extreme pressure.

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

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