Bloomberg Politics is drawing fire from the National Rifle Association over a recent story claiming there is a potential rift between likely presidential candidate Scott Walker and the Second Amendment advocacy group.
A recent Bloomberg Politics article floated the idea that Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely presidential candidate as well as a favorite of gun rights activists, may not be as "pure" as other White House GOP hopefuls, citing a 1995 bill that failed in the Badger State's legislature. The NRA also says Bloomberg's reporter failed to contact the group for comment.
"Now that Walker is preparing to run for president — and seen by some as the early frontrunner for the Republican nomination — his flirtation with gun control could create an opportunity for competitors who have been more pure on the issue to question the depth of Walker's anti-gun-control beliefs," read the Saturday report by Bloomberg Politics Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Allen.
The "flirtation with gun control" is a reference to a 1995 bill Walker co-sponsored as a member of the Wisconsin state legislature, according to the Bloomberg article. The bill would have made it illegal to buy and sell guns that don't have trigger locks.
After the National Rifle Association and gun-rights groups came out against the bill, Walker withdrew his support and it failed to pass.
The story notes that Walker has an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association, but it still frames the 20-year-old issue as "an opportunity " for Walker's potential Republican rivals "who have been more pure on the issue to question the depth of Walker's anti-gun-control beliefs."
The Bloomberg article is one of the first to examine Walker's past legislative record and how it may impact his White House ambitions. Stories like this are becoming more common as the Republican presidential field forms.
Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, said the Association is very fond of Walker.
"He's been so good for us on this issue," Baker said. She also said that Allen, the author of the story, did not contact the Association for comment.
"This is a story [Bloomberg] used our name in connection with and they never called us to find out," she said. "Scott Walker has been an unapologetic supporter of the Second Amendment and any attempt to say otherwise is dishonest and reeks of desperate politics."
The NRA endorsed Walker's successful reelection bid for governor in 2014 with a TV ad that said, "Protect your gun rights. Reelect Scott Walker."
A spokeswoman for Walker's political action committee Our American Revival said the Bloomberg piece appeared to be opposition research "stretching thin."
"The Bloomberg story is a reach focusing on one bill 20 years ago that he decided he could not support after learning more about it," she said. "The NRA gave him an A-plus rating the year before that, that very year, and A and A-plus ratings in subsequent years. This legislation is not something he was championing."
Allen did not return a request for comment.