Republican Politicians Attend NRA Convention Instead of Addressing Common Sense Gun Law

MADISON, Wis. — This weekend, Republican politicians in Wisconsin, including Attorney General candidate Eric Toney and conservative state legislators, will join in at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) state conference – all while families across the nation are still gathered in mourning the toll of gun violence massacres in New York, Texas, and other local communities as common sense gun safety reform laws languish.

“While families grieve the victims of senseless gun violence, the gun lobby is still working to influence Wisconsin politicians and derail common sense gun safety laws,” said Mike Browne, deputy director of A Better Wisconsin Together. “To give credence to such an event at all, but especially so fresh on the heels of children and teachers being gunned down in their classrooms, shows an extreme lack of empathy, and raises serious questions about these politicians’ judgment.”

Former right-wing Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, Republican State Senator Julian Bradley, along with Republican State Assembly Representatives Janel Brandtjen and Rob Brooks are on the agenda to speak at this weekend’s NRA conference.

The agenda of the NRA and its right wing supporters is at odds with the vast majority of Wisconsinites, who support common sense gun reforms. Recent polling from Marquette University Law School shows that more than 80% of all Wisconsinites, including 78% of households that own guns, support mandatory background checks for all firearm purchases. That same poll revealed over 80% of people living in Wisconsin are in favor of Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) legislation, a measure that would allow law enforcement and family members to petition courts to keep people who are a danger to themselves or others from having guns.

Despite this overwhelming support for curbing gun violence, Wisconsin Republicans refused to even debate reforms proposed by Gov. Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul and Democrats in the state legislature.

Their extremism didn’t stop there. Republican state lawmakers also passed bills that would have made it easier for guns to be carried in churches, on school grounds, and in the hands of teenagers. Thankfully, Governor Tony Evers vetoed those bills and prevented them from becoming law.

“It’s clear that the people of Wisconsin want our elected officials to fight for sensible gun safety measures that will save lives. Yet right wing Republicans are instead mingling with extremists at NRA conventions,” said Browne.

He concluded, “Those who have been granted the privilege of governing in our names, whether it be in federal, state or local office, need to put constituents over greed, listen to our voices, and they need to act.”

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A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives.