The NRA responded to the “Connecticut effect” controversy on Tuesday by claiming no connection to the lobbyist who represents the NRA’s Wisconsin chapter.
On Monday, ThinkProgress broke the story about how NRA lobbyist Bob Welch said the organization will simply wait for the “Connecticut effect” to subside before resuming its push to weaken the nation’s gun laws. Welch’s comments came at the 2013 NRA Wisconsin State Convention over the weekend.
Now, the NRA is attempting to disavow any association with Welch or its Wisconsin chapter. In an email to TPM on Tuesday, the NRA wrote that “Bob Welch is neither a staff lobbyist nor a contract lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. He does not speak for the NRA.”
The NRA’s attempt to claim no association with Welch and its Wisconsin state chapter is laughable. Welch is a registered lobbyist for the Wisconsin NRA group, known as WI-FORCE (Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs & Educators), so any association between WI-FORCE and the NRA is an association between Welch and the NRA.
Let’s briefly review whether or not WI-FORCE is connected with the NRA.
WI-FORCE’s website notes that the group is “An NRA Chartered State Association.” Their annual convention last weekend, where Welch’s comments were made, was billed as the “2013 NRA Wisconsin State Convention.” Among the attendees at the event was NRA President David Keene, who sat right next to Welch before the lobbyist’s speech.
The brochure pictured below, which notes that WI-FORCE is the NRA’s 2011 Association of the Year and a National Rifle Association Chartered State Association, even includes a testimonial from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R): “As the NRA’s chartered State association, Wisconsin FORCE’s support for Constitutional rights of Wisconsinites was helpful as I signed important legislation into law.”
Given how offensive Welch’s comments were, it’s clear why the NRA is trying to confuse the public about its association with its Wisconsin chapter.