Monday, April 22, 2013

NRA Campaign Support Shoots Down Expanded Background Checks

Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature say they will block efforts to enhance background checks on gun sales in Wisconsin because it's unnecessary, burdensome and doesn't have enough legislative support.

But outside the Capitol a number of polls - here and here - show eight of 10 Wisconsin voters support requiring background checks on gun sales between individuals and at firearm shows - something state law does not require.

The conflict between the political support and public support for more background checks is likely the nearly $2 million in outside election spending and campaign contributions spent since 2002 on Wisconsin candidates for statewide office and the legislature by the National Rifle Association which opposes nearly all forms of firearm regulation.

The NRA spent nearly $1 million to help Walker win his 2010 general and 2012 recall election.  The group spent $964,422 on outside electioneering activities to support Walker and contributed $10,000 to his campaign from its political action committee.  Walker says state policymakers should approve his budget proposal to increase funding to treat mental illness to reduce gun violence rather than expand gun sale background checks.

The group spent about $107,000 on campaign contributions and outside electioneering activities in legislative races from 2002 through 2012, and all but $1,000 went to support Republican legislative candidates.

The rest of the NRA's expenditures during the 10-year period - about $861,000 - was spent on outside electioneering activities and campaign contributions to support GOP candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in the 2006 and 2002 elections and two conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates in the 2008 and 2011 spring elections.


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