MADISON, Wis. — According to data from the state Department of Public Instruction there are nearly 982,000 Wisconsin students attending public and private K-12 schools in the state. With the National Rifle Association (NRA) dropping over $819,000 on television advertising for Gov. Scott Walker which started Friday, their total support for Walker’s gubernatorial campaigns since 2010 now exceeds $4.25 million.
That works out to approximately $4.33 in NRA campaign cash for every school child in the state, according to One Wisconsin Now Research Director and mom of two Joanna Beilman-Dulin.
“No group has been a bigger obstacle to common sense reform of gun and public safety laws than the NRA and no politician in Wisconsin has gotten more of their money than Scott Walker,” said Beilman-Dulin.
Walker has previously been publicly endorsed by the NRA in his gubernatorial bid in 2010, in his 2012 recall election and in 2014. As part of their 2014 effort, the NRA spent $1 million on TV ads on behalf of Walker. The current NRA buy begins runs for two weeks, including $240,000 in Green Bay, $271,000 in La Crosse and Eau Claire and $225,000 in Wausau — and specifically excludes the Milwaukee and Madison media markets.
NRA website recently featured an article on the importance of governors to the agenda of the gun lobby noting,, “ … a pro-gun governor can help shepherd bills through the legislature and sign them into law. A pro-gun governor can also help derail anti-gun bills before they gather momentum, or veto them if they make it to his or her desk … In addition, governors often make key appointments to state positions that can impact gun owners …”
Promoting Walker’s work specifically on behalf of the gun lobby, the NRA wrote, “It would be hard to find someone who is more supportive …”
In the aftermaths of mass shootings in schools like the February massacre in Parkland, Florida the NRA opposed stricter gun control laws and has called for putting more guns in schools with armed teachers. The organization “March for Our Lives” on Friday released a powerful video against gun violence and the unwillingness of politicians like Scott Walker to support gun safety laws.
As Governor, Walker has signed into law bills putting more guns on our streets, eliminating waiting periods for gun purchases and taking away local school districts’ ability to fund their ongoing safety needs. He has also reacted to mass school shootings by supporting arming of teachers and rejecting calls for measures to crack down on easy access to firearms. During his stint in the state legislature, Walker also voted to shield the gun industry from lawsuits and prevent local governments from passing their own laws to keep dangerous assault rifles out of their community. Walker received his first NRA contribution in June 1993, during his first successful run for political office that began a 25-year career in elected office.
Beilman-Dulin concluded, “With the tragedy of gun violence and mass shootings repeatedly striking in our nation’s schools it’s a sobering thought to think the NRA has spent $4.33 per K-12 student in Wisconsin to try to keep Scott Walker in the governor’s office and looking the other way on reforms.”