In an April 18, 2011 alert, More Unnecessary Regulation Being Proposed for Right-to-Carry Bills, NRA-ILA said something we never thought we’d ever live to hear them say:
Key legislators who have supported past Right to Carry bills in Wisconsin have recently begun to demand that a mandatory training provision be a component of any Right-to-Carry bill introduced this year. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the world’s largest firearms safety and proficiency training organization but it trusts citizens to assume this responsibility on their own. The government should not deem it necessary to micromanage the citizen exercise of essential rights. This is not the American way.
The alert goes on to point out how those who stand to profit from mandatory training for concealed carry — firearms trainers — have already begun to lobby for mandatory training.
More disappointingly, even some firearms instructors in the state are promoting a training mandate. These are people who should know better but they too choose to ignore the proven experience in all of these other states. While some are unfortunately motivated by what they see is the potential to profit handsomely, others are simply misinformed. They must understand that citizens are capable of deciding for themselves that attending firearms training is the responsible thing to do.
Some have suggested that WGO is “anti-NRA.” They pontificate wildly that we’re only willing to point out the many stupid political moves NRA has pulled over the years. They point out the fact that we always seem to be calling attention to the nationwide gun lobby’s long history of compromise. Well, then. But the suggestion that we’ve nothing nice to say about the NRA simply isn’t true. For example, the NRA publishes a fine gun publication, American Rifleman. And their shooting programs and matches are second to none. However, gun owners have begun to understand that the political side of the NRA hasn’t always acted in the best interest of gun owners. Gun activists have been forced to treat the NRA just like the politicians it has befriended, lobbying NRA leadership as though they were fence-sitting democrats. These bold gun activists should be applauded as we believe this “sea change” — or, attitude adjustment — can be credited to pressure from NRA members.
“Many people should pat themselves on the back for putting so much pressure on the NRA over the years,” said one source, a pro-gun activist who has tracked the NRA’s political strategy for close to twenty years, and argues the organization is predisposed to political compromise. “The NRA is one of the political class, and thus has to be treated just like you treat a politician — pressure, pressure, pressure. Will it last? Probably not. Almost certainly not. But take advantage of this, Wisconsin.”
So, there you have it. The NRA issued a good alert. Why just good and not great? The only way it could be made any better is to start naming names of those “key legislators” who are pushing unconstitutional mandatory training for concealed carry.
However, I suspect if they did that, you’d see a laundry list of republican legislators, and that’s not good for business as usual. I also suspect many of them proudly wear “A” ratings from the NRA. And let’s face it: If you’ve already earned your A grade, is there really much incentive to improve?
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About the Author: Corey Graff is the executive director of Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. (WGO), a pro-gun activist, and a life-long gun owner from Wisconsin.