By Ryan Ekvall | Wisconsin Reporter
STURTEVANT — Second Amendment warrior and hard rocker Ted Nugent this week rallied behind GOP U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, asserting the former popular Wisconsin governor “pioneered the return of Second Amendment rights in this country.”
But that may be a tough sell to some gun rights advocates who saw Thompson’s support as lukewarm at best.
Thompson once was seen as no fan of concealed carry legislation, the kind that passed through the Wisconsin Legislature and was signed into law by Republican Gov. Scott Walker last year.
Asked by Wisconsin Reporter when he changed his mind on the matter, Thompson said, “I’ve always supported it.”
History tells otherwise.
After citing a September 1999 New York Times article which reads, “Gov. Tommy G. Thompson of Wisconsin has vowed to veto any concealed-weapon bill,” the candidate responded “I’ve always been for it.”
In 1995, then- state Sen. Dave Zien, seen as a paragon of gun rights by the NRA, pushed for concealed carry. The issue was highlighted by a Milwaukee Journal article, in which then-Gov. Tommy Thompson’s press secretary Kevin Keane said, “(the governor) is not excited about it by any means. He doesn’t believe there’s a place for it at this time in Wisconsin.”
“It never got to me,” Thompson said of the bill Thursday, with his campaign people behind him asking for the next question. “It never got out of the Legislature.”
Thompson’s response may come across as peculiar to his personal friends, who recognize the governor didn’t always support concealed carry.
“I have discussed concealed carry with Tommy. He was wrong in 1999, but changed his position as more and more states passed it without the negative results then being predicted by many in the law enforcement community,” NRA president and friend of Thompson, David Keene told Daily Caller after endorsing Thompson. “He was glad when Wisconsin passed it this year and is applying for his permit.”
Keene personally endorsed Thompson. The NRA doesn’t endorse candidates in a primary election.
Buster Bachhuber, of rural Wausau, serves on the board of directors for the NRA.
He said he remembers Thompson being “lukewarm as far as being pro-gun” on some of the more “emotional” Second Amendment questions.
“He did not flat out say he would sign concealed carry,” he said. “I recall him waffling, saying ‘I don’t know.’”
Jeff Nass, is president of Wisconsin FORCE, or Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs & Educators, an NRA chartered state association.
“All four of the Republican candidates are light years ahead of their Democratic opponent,” Nass said.
It’s safe to say the group will not be endorsing gun control proponent, U.S. Rep Tammy Baldwin, of Madison, the Democrat’s candidate for the U.S. Senate seat. Nass said Baldwin is “definitely not a friend of the Constitution.”