NRA, Others Want Gun Classes
Opposed by Madison schools, backed by Bear Hunters Association.
A GOP bill backed by the pro-gun groups that would let Wisconsin schools offer gun courses drew fire from Democrats and praise from Republican lawmakers at a public hearing Thursday.
The measure, Assembly Bill 427, requires the state superintendent of public instruction to jointly develop a curriculum for a comprehensive firearm education course to be offered as an elective to high school pupils.
The bill does not require a school district to offer the course, and prohibits the presence or use of live ammunition. The classes would be taught or supervised by an individual trained in firearms safety, according to the bill.
The proposal requires the state superintendent to jointly develop the curriculum with the Department of Natural Resources, a law enforcement agency, or an organization that specializes in firearms safety or that certifies firearms instructors.
The bill is backed by hunting and pro-gun groups including the Safari Club, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs & Educators, a state group chartered by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The measure is opposed by the Madison school district and the League of Women Voters.
The NRA operates political action committees (PAC) and a corporation, which spent about $95,300 on outside electioneering activities between 2008 and 2016 to help Republican legislative candidates. In addition to outside election spending, the NRA’s state and federal PACs contributed about $53,100 to Republican legislative candidates between 2008 and 2016.
Two of the bill’s sponsors were among Republicans who received NRA support. Kleefisch received $1,000 in contributions and Moulton received $2,220 in contributions and outside election support by the NRA between 2008 and 2016.
Republicans control the Senate by 20-13 and the Assembly by 64-35.