The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is out with a big 'he said, she said' story about how Rep. Michael Schraa may have, or may have not, showed some anti-gun activists from the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) his pistol in the state capitol. Here is how the Journal Sentinel explains the story:
Jeri Bonavia, executive director of WAVE, said that two volunteers for her group from the Milwaukee area told her that Schraa had taken out his wallet and concealed carry permit from his left pants pocket and a small holstered pistol from his right pants pocket, with the retirees describing the holster as black. He showed the gun and permit while making a point about his support for gun rights, she said.
Bonavia said that after learning of the incident, she went twice to Schraa's Capitol office after tracking it down, first by herself and then with the two volunteers. She said the lawmaker confirmed that he was carrying a concealed handgun in his right pants pocket by patting it multiple times but denied having displayed it.
"They were really shaken up more because they were accused of lying. They were really upset," Bonavia said. "They were pointing at his pocket and saying, 'Yes, you did, it's right there.'"
Schraa said that was absolutely not true and questioned whether he was being "set up."
"I don't pull my gun out. I've been going over this in my head. They don't seem like people who lie," Schraa said of the couple. "I'm dumbfounded."
Let's break this down.
1.) Rep. Schraa is lawfully allowed to carry a pistol in the capitol. He has a conceal carry license. There is nothing illegal that occurred here.
2.) According to one account, the anti-gun activists may have seen the pistol. But maybe not. Whatever occurred, Schraa did not point the pistol or threaten the couple.
3.) If this was so threatening, why weren't the Capitol Police involved instead of a newspaper reporter?
If this is all that occurred, and that appears to be a big if, who cares? Why does this even matter?
But the story gets more suspicious. According to Rep. John Nygren, WAVE activists accused him of showing a firearm too. An email from Rep. John Nygren's office reads:
The WAVE group initially came into the Nygren office accusing Rep. Nygren of showing a firearm to the gun control advocates. However, this was not possible because Rep. Nygren never met with the advocates, nor was he in the Capitol at the time. After staff informed the executive director of WAVE, Jeri Bonavia that Rep. Nygren didn’t meet with them, she remained adamant that Rep. Nygren showed a firearm to the activists, noting that they were shook up about the incident. After staff informed Bonavia for a second time that that was not possible, Bonavia left.
That is awfully damning.
In addition, WAVE was working with Organizing for America- Wisconsin (OFA), the former campaign arm of President Obama. OFA works to advance President Obama's agenda which includes gun control.
So what's going on here? Are the folks from WAVE simply confused? Or are they walking around the capitol accusing lawmakers of threatening them with concealed weapons, the very thing they are lobbying against?
Whatever did or did not occur, apparently the anti-gun activists get their headline. And Democratic lawmakers like Rep. Mandela Barnes were ready to issue their press releases to advance an agenda.
"This has a chilling effect on Wisconsinites who simply want to feel safe and secure in their community, especially while simply exercising their right to petition their state legislators in their State Capitol," said Barnes.
Really? Maybe WAVE and Barnes should stop by Rep. Christine Sinicki's office and nail down the definition of "hypebole."