Why I failed NRA 101

Yes. I believe in the second amendment and the right to own guns. I believe in the great sporting traditions of Wisconsin’s sportsmen and women. I will not be under the thumb of any special interest group, however. The only interest group I represent are the people of WI-05.

One of the more disturbing aspects of running for federal office is the barrage of questionnaires from special interest groups who want to ‘grade’ me. Many of the forms come with a threatening cover letter. “You MUST fill this out and return it by…or we will consider you a hostile candidate!”

Who do they think they are? I suppose it would be different if I were taking their money—although I would hope that even the candidates who take their money maintain the upper hand.

My views on many issues are spelled out in various places, and I have been traveling around the district talking to people and answering their questions. I’m sure it is much easier to stay home and look at a scorecard on the internet, rather than read a position statement or go speak to a candidate in person, but does a made-up “A” or “F” really provide enough nuance to understand today’s issues?

I don’t believe it does, and moreover, I am not going to play a game that requires me to kowtow to a special interest group in order to receive their blessing.

Does a made-up “A” or “F” grade really provide enough nuance to understand today’s issues? I don’t believe it does.

Consider the NRA questionnaire. I believe in Red Flag laws, and the NRA has a video that supports these same laws.

But here are the multiple-choice answers to the question that relates directly to the Red Flag laws issue:

A) I agree with the NRA and support comprehensive mental health reform that would fix America’s broken mental health system, while not infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

B) I disagree with the NRA and do not support reforming America’s mental health system.

The “not infringing on rights…” part means not taking guns from suicidal people. So, the NRA tells me in their questionnaire that I can either choose to let a suicidal person keep his gun, or I have to oppose mental health reforms. In the NRA’s own questionnaire, I’m not allowed to agree with their actual political views.

Many of these questions have the feel of the old line, “When did you stop beating your wife?”

If you, unlike the NRA, are truly interested in learning my views on guns, here they are. I will try to address many of the items queried on the NRA form.

I think people who present imminent threat to themselves or others should have their guns removed. As a physician, I have evaluated such people and have had them involuntarily committed to a psych facility. It is baffling to me that I can lock them up but cannot hold onto their guns. I do not include Veterans who need help managing their financial affairs as someone who should have their guns removed.

I think conceal-carry permits should cross state lines, but to maintain states’ rights, there should be a minimum level of instruction mandated before such permits are granted.

If you sell a gun to a stranger, you should get a background check. I don’t believe this should apply to people who transfer ownership between friends/family, but if you are advertising on the internet or selling at public gun shows there, should be background checks. I’ve noticed some internet sellers require the purchaser to provide proof of CC permit, and that should suffice, since to get a CC permit you have to pass a background check.

I am not in favor of banning semi-automatics. I do believe that, like handguns, semi-automatics should have a 21-year-old buying age.

I support a reduction in magazine size.

I support funding for research on prevention of injury by gun.

I would not expand federal licensing of firearms.

I would restore ‘relief from disabilities’ to restore the right to own a gun to people with a distant past history of non-violent crime.

I do not think ‘smart-gun’ technology should be mandated. I think it might be an attractive option for gun owners with children and I would like to see it available…but never mandated.

What do you think about this? Call (262) 419-0019 to leave a voicemail, and I might share your thoughts on this website!

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