Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Dan Bice is criticizing state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly for holding a campaign fundraiser at a gun range in Waukesha County a day after an employee at Molson Coors killed five individuals before killing himself.
Bice says the fundraiser was “tone deaf”, and of course found some anti-gun Democrats who were more than willing to agree.
Courtney Beyer, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party, called the fundraiser “tasteless and disrespectful.”
Beyer then promoted Karofsky’s candidacy, saying the state wants a justice concerned about the issue of gun violence. She then said Kelly has been “bought off by special interests to stand in the way of meaningful progress on gun safety reform.”
Karofsky’s campaign declined to comment.
What really seems to bother Bice is the fact that Justice Kelly isn’t apologizing for hosting the fundraiser at the gun range, and is instead pushing back against the criticism.
“This attempt by Jill Karofsky’s allies to exploit a horrible tragedy for their own political gain is repulsive, yet unsurprising given the way Judge Karofsky has chosen to run her entire campaign,” said Charles Nichols, campaign manager for Kelly.
Nichols said Kelly’s opponent and her allies don’t seem to get that “constitutional rights are exactly that, rights — regardless of her desire to strip them away.”
Even though the race is officially nonpartisan — and for a judicial seat — the two candidates haven’t really hidden their positions on the issue of gun control.
As Bice notes, Kelly has recognized the right to keep and bear arms in past decisions, including striking down a ban on legally carried firearms on public transportation in Madison, Wisconsin. Kelly’s opponent, Jill Karofsky, on the other hand, has some problems with the Heller decision and seems like a guaranteed vote to uphold any gun control law passed in the state if she were to be elected to the state Supreme Court.
Karofsky said she believes the decision leaves enough wiggle room for communities to pass some gun control laws “so that we’re able to live in a country where we don’t have to send our kids to school for code-red drills.”
In contrast, Kelly said he saw no problems in the high court ruling. He also noted that he owns a shotgun and two hunting rifles and has a concealed weapons permit.
Sounds like there’s a pretty clear choice for gun owners in Wisconsin come April. If you want your Second Amendment rights protected, Kelly’s the candidate who will actually acknowledge that the Second Amendment means something, while Karofsky would ignore the plain language of the amendment in order to allow as many restrictive gun control laws as possible.
As for Kelly holding a fundraiser at a gun range, I know that Democrats in the state are desperate to try to turn that into some sort of controversy, but unless you think that exercising your right to keep and bear arms is in and of itself bad taste, I’m not sure what the problem is. The fundraiser wasn’t glorifying gun violence, but instead was an opportunity for legal, law-abiding gun owners to show their support for a judicial candidate who understands that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental, individual right. That’s all, despite Democrats’ protests to the contrary.