Politifact investigates an NRA claim about Tom Barrett’s gun banning ways, and finds some truth to it, but still rules that it’s mostly false. NRA’s claim is:
“Well, Barrett voted to ban 15 different kinds of guns, even a lot of common deer rifles.”
To refute this claim, they contacted a cop, a reporter, and a guy who quit the NRA because he hates pro-gun politics. Real objective crowd there. The warden is probably the one I’d trust the most:
Lawhern, who taught DNR hunter safety classes for 18 years, recalled that when he worked in the field in the mid-1990s he would see perhaps half a dozen hunters each season using an assault-style weapon.
Out of how many hunters interacted with? If you interacted with 25 hunters every season, this would amount to a large percentage. This is meaningless for defeating the claim without proper context. From the reporter:
And Smith said that from his experience, while firearms such as the AK-47 and the AR-15 “have gained favor among some hunters and sport shooters in recent decades, they constitute a small fraction of deer hunting rifles in use today and were an even smaller fraction in 1994.”
The AR-15 is the hottest selling rifle on the market today. It is also the most ubiquitous rifle on the sport shooting circuit. To me, if you’re seeing it fairly regularly in the field, that means it’s not unusual. I don’t hunt, and certainly didn’t in 1994, but in sport shooting the AR-15 is not only common, it’s ubiquitous. I think the mistake here is mistaking the word common, which is not a strong a word as ubiquitous. Common, to me, means it’s not unusual to see in places where you see people with guns.
That’s not to say there’s not traditionalist hunters out there that frown on the popularity of the AR-15. The whole Zumbo incident never would have happened if he hadn’t noticed more hunters using the platform, and loudly echoed his disapproval. The claim was that they were common hunting rifles, not that they were ubiquitous, and the claim was never tied explicitly to the 1994 time frame. If this is more true today, then that’s Tom Barrett’s problem, not ours. That they’ve become so popular for hunting and target shooting 20 years later is just all the more reason that Barrett’s position on this was wrong to being with.
As far as NRA’s actual claim, I’d rate it is as somewhat true. It’s a bit overstated, but that’s a far cry from “mostly false.” Tom Barrett is a gun banner, and the rifles he chose to ban are not uncommonly used by hunters. That’s all that really ought to matter.
In other news, if you live in Wisconsin, you might want to spread the word that the Wisconsin Deer Hunter’s Association is run by a guy who doesn’t give a crap about your Second Amendment rights. Actually, given I can’t find a 990 for this organization, I question its legitimacy when it comes to speaking for deer hunters. This looks a bit more legit to me. Anyone in WI care to comment if Wisconsin Deer Hunter’s Association is a false flag designed to give anti-gun Democrats some pro-hunting pro-outdoors cover? Kind of smells like one.