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WI: Is Thompson concealing memory on concealed carry?

By   /   July 27, 2012  /   4 Comments

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.”


  • Fran

    Isn’t it amazing how politicians leave their integrity at the door when radicals like Ted show up with money and mouth? Thompson has lost my respect during this idiotic campaign he is running….

  • Dick Dastardly

    My choices, in order of preference. . . . #1, Newman. #2, Hovde. #3, Tommy (because he’s better than Tammy).

    I’ve seen Tommy blow in the political wind and bend to pressure. I’ve seen Tommy begging for Secretary of Transportation in Bush’s term (so Tommy could run high speed rail from Chicago up to his condos in the Dells). I’ve seen Tommy waffle on gun issues. But, all that said, I’d vote for him rather than see Tammy sent to represent me in the U.S. Senate.


  • Jim

    I have to agree that ANY Republican is better than “Alice in Wonderland” Baldwin. However, let us work hard to find the most conservative and most HONEST one possible in the primaties before we go to the general election.


  • Jim

    I will dissent with you that it’s idiotic. But I concur that Thompson’s nose does tend to grow a little.