Joel Krautter sent out a despicable mailer about his staunchly pro-gun opponent, Brandon Ler, claiming Ler might be a danger to Second Amendment liberties and lauding his own rating with the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA heavily leans towards endorsing incumbents and Ler’s question-mark grade was the result of never having been sent a questionnaire by the organization. However, today the Montana Daily Gazette has discovered that Krautter’s own gun-rights score from the more conservative Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) was demoted a letter-grade from his 2018 scoring for supporting an anti-gun bill designed to indoctrinate Montana’s children.
The Gazette reached out to the MSSA to inquire how ratings from lobbying groups work, in what was purely an attempt to gain understanding into the process. What began as a pursuit of genuine inquiry led to a discovery previously uncaught by most in HD35 (Richland County), of whom Kruatter represents in Helena: Krautter’s pro-gun score dropped because he supported troublesome anti-gun legislation.
Look at MSSA’s ratings from 2018 (below).
Now look at MSSA’s ratings from 2020 (below).
What’s the reason for the drop in score?
Well, anyone can get a decent score from filling out a questionnaire. Locals have noticed that Krautter lauds Red Flag Laws and refuses to say where he stands on magazine capacity limits and “assault rifle” bans, and it’s likely these positions differ wildly from what he tells the MSSA and NRA he supports or opposes. However, there’s one vote against gun rights that the MSSA took into consideration but the NRA did not.
HB477 passed the Montana House of Representatives was a partisan Democrat bill according to the Montana website (see below):
In simplest terms, HB477 sought to “enact firearm education laws for children.” The partisan part of this bill is that it was designed to co-opt an MSSA gun safety program that has been wildly successful, has been approved by the Superintendent of Education, and has been used to teach thousands of Montana children about gun safety.
The MSSA program took into consideration Montana’s unique culture and instead of insisting parents lock up their firearms, took the common sense approach of teaching kids not to touch guns. With pickup trucks, fireplace mantels, and bedsides being common places to keep firearms in Montana, the MSSA recognized it was simply unreasonable and – in fact – unsafe to focus on locking up all weapons as the first prioritized step of gun safety. Instead, the MSSA curriculum taught kids that they should never touch firearms whether or not they are personally acceptable. After all, in a state with this many firearms floating about (and regularly used for lawful purposes), what’s the chances “locking them up” will be reasonable?
HB477 instead sought to impose a penalty on parents who have firearms around children. See the screenshot from the state website (below):
In no uncertain terms, making it a penalty to leave a firearm unattended is gun control. Later, the language regarding penalties was stricken, but it retained indoctrination of children with anti-gun sentiments. And Joel Krautter voted for the Democrat legislation…twice.
This is the second reading of the bill in the House (see below):
And this is the third reading of the bill in the House (see below):
The bill, which passed the House on party lines (Krautter voted with the Democrats and the Solutions Caucus), was eventually killed in the Senate Judiciary Committee by Republicans. The bill was opposed by the MSSA. Krautter’s score was demoted over the last two years to reflect his anti-gun vote.