Todd J. Rathner

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

Todd Rathner - NRA Board Member
Owner of the T. Jeffrey Safari Company LLC, Lobbyist for Rathner and Associates, former lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, lobbyist for Knife Rights Inc.

Todd J. Rathner is a gun rights lobbyist in the Arizona state legislature and the owner of an African safari hunting company. Packages offered by the T. Jeffrey Safari Company allow hunters to kill lions, baboons, zebras, and monkeys. In addition to being a gun rights lobbyist, Rathner also lobbies on knife rights. On his Twitter page, Rather describes himself as follows: "Jewish Redneck, Love guns, hunting and hunting for guns. Uber Conservative." On his Facebook page, he brags that he is “Making the world safe for guns and knives, one law at a time.” Rathner's lobbying activity has focused primarily on expanding the ability of individuals to carry guns in public. “Any law that allows law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm in more places makes the community safer,” he says. Rathner has helped push for laws in Arizona that allow residents to: a) Carry loaded handguns in public (openly or concealed) without a permit or screening of any kind; b) Bring guns to work and keep them in their vehicles in company parking lots, and c) Enter establishments that serve alcohol with loaded firearms (permit holders only).

Controversial Actions and Statements

Controversial Actions and Statements:

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

On August 8, 2011, Rathner tweeted, “Recovering and catching up after ALEC in Nawlins. It was fun to see all my fellow lobbyists and legislator friends.” The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was founded by conservative stalwart Paul Weyrich in 1973 and provides model legislation to politicians. While ostensibly a nonpartisan organization, the model legislation offered by ALEC promotes only a conservative agenda. According to The Nation, “ALEC’s priorities for the 2011 session included bills to privatize education, break unions, deregulate major industries, [and] pass voter ID laws.”

Lobbying Activity | Education | Labor | Race

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

On June 16, 2011, Rathner tweeted, “TUSD [Tucson Unified School District] smacked down over La Raza program. When will we get America back in our schools?” Rathner was referring to an optional course in Mexican-American Studies offered by the Tucson Unified School District, which is 60% Latino. The course—which is open to students of any ethnicity—may be discontinued under a 2011 Arizona state law, HB 2281, that bans classes designed for students of a particular ethnic group. Defenders of the course—which has been tied to higher academic achievement—have filed a lawsuit alleging that HB 2281 violates the free speech and due process protections of the U.S. Constitution.

Education | Freedom of Speech | Immigration | Race

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

Just weeks after the January 8, 2011 shooting rampage in Tuscon that left six dead and 13 wounded, Rathner lobbied aggressively in the Arizona legislature to have the Colt single action Army revolver declared the state’s official firearm. The legislation was widely criticized, including by lawmakers (Republican state Senator Adam Driggs called the legislation an “advertisement for Colt”) and Native Americans with the Navajo Nation, who said the Colt was a tool used by white settlers to push them off their ancestral lands. "If you want to symbolize something and shove that something...in their faces, this is what it is," said Albert Hale, an ex-Navajo president. "The gun symbolized the extinction of those Indians who were here." The bill was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2011.
Gun Industry | Lobbying Activity | Race

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

On December 3, 2010, Rathner tweeted, “Looks like Campus Carry will be a big issue in AZ this year. Maybe people in these defenseless vicitms [sic] zones will now have some protection.” He was referring to SB 1467, a bill that sought to force the states’ public colleges and universities to allow students and faculty to carry guns on their campuses. After being amended substantially, the bill was passed by the Arizona state legislature and sent to Republican Governor Jan Brewer. She vetoed the legislation on April 18, 2011, however, calling the bill “poorly written.” Among those who opposed SB 1467 were the following: the Arizona Board of Regents; the presidents and chiefs of police of the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University, and; the Joint Council of Presidents of Arizona’s public community colleges and universities. "Guns have no place in schools," said Arizona State University President Michael Crow.

Lobbying Activity | Education

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

On February 22, 2011, Rather posted a photo on Facebook of a sign that prohibited eating, drinking, and smoking in a hearing room, and then complained that Spanish-speakers were not abiding by the sign. He also indicated that he doesn’t consider what Spanish-speakers eat to be real food.

Immigration | Race

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

On December 3, 2010, Rathner tweeted, “Looks like Campus Carry will be a big issue in AZ this year. Maybe people in these defenseless vicitms [sic] zones will now have some protection.” He was referring to SB 1467, a bill that sought to force the states’ public colleges and universities to allow students and faculty to carry guns on their campuses. After being amended substantially, the bill was passed by the Arizona state legislature and sent to Republican Governor Jan Brewer. She vetoed the legislation, however, who calling it “poorly written.” Among those who opposed SB 1467 were the following: the Arizona Board of Regents; the presidents and chiefs of police of the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University, and; the Joint Council of Presidents of Arizona’s public community colleges and universities. "Guns have no place in schools," said Arizona State University President Michael Crow.

Education

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

Rathner called then-MSNBC host Keith Olbermannn a “dirty Nazi” via Twitter on November 5, 1010.

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

On Election Day 2010, Rathner tweeted, “For some reason there were no Black Panthers at my polling place this morning. I don't think they'd do well intimidating anyone in AZ!” Rathner was referring to two members of the New Black Panther Party who were accused by conservative media outlets of intimidating voters outside a polling station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Election Day in 2008. No complaints of voter intimidation were ever received from individuals at that polling station, however, and a criminal investigation of the matter by the Department of Justice was dropped during the George W. Bush administration.

Political Violence | Race

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

On the eve of the November 2, 2010 congressional elections, Rathner tweeted, “Just hours till our "Hopey, Changey" experiement [sic] with socialism is over, I can almost hear the Constitution sighing with relief,” and, “I wonder how the ‘Astro Turf’ is gonna feel when [then-House Speaker] Nancy [Pelosi], [Senate Majority Leader] Harry [Reid], and BHO [President Barack Hussein Obama] land smack in the middle of it tomorrow.” Rathner was defending Tea Party organizations that had been accused of being “astroturf” (i.e., corporate-backed interests) rather than true grassroots groups. Hope and change were two persistent themes of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

Republican Party (GOP) |

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

As a result of Rathner’s efforts on behalf of the knife lobby, there are now no restrictions on the carrying of knives in Arizona and local municipalities are prohibited from enacting their own knife regulations. Even openly carrying a samurai sword in public is now legal in Arizona.

Lobbying Activity |

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

On March 25, 2010, Rathner posted a photo of then-First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Fidel Castro on his Facebook Wall with the caption “Well somebody's happy about Obamacare!” He was referring to the "Patient Affordability and Protection Act," which had been signed into law by President Barack Obama two days earlier.

Health Care

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

On March 24, 2010, Rather posted an image on his Facebook Wall of a board game called “Obamopoly” (a parody of the popular game Monopoly). The game board suggests that the President can use a “Race Card” to “Get Off Scot-Free.” Other board squares rail against "Cap and Trade" legislation and "Socialized Medicine," and mock Americans who collect welfare.

The Environment | Health Care | Poverty | Race

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

Rathner lobbied for a 2005 bill that sought to allow concealed handgun permit holders in Arizona to carry loaded, concealed handguns into establishments that serve alcohol. The guns in bars bill was opposed by all major law enforcement organizations and a large segment of the tourism industry, including the Arizona Restaurant Association. The legislation was passed by the Arizona legislature, but subsequently vetoed by then-Governor Janet Napolitano, a Democrat. Rathner vowed that the legislation would come up again, and suggested that the Second Amendment rights of Arizona residents were being infringed upon if they could not carry guns into bars (in reality, laws prohibiting such behavior date back to Arizona’s Frontier Era. The bill did come up again, and was eventually signed into law in 2009 by Arizona’s Republican Governor, Jan Brewer. It took effect on September 30, 2009.

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

Rathner posted a photo of President Barack Obama made to look like the Batman villain The Joker on his Facebook Wall on August 4, 2009. At the bottom of the image is the word “SOCIALISM.” The image has been denounced as racist for showing an African American in “whiteface” in a reversal of traditional minstrel roles. A writer for LA Weekly commented, “The only thing missing is a noose.”

Race

Todd Rathner (Board Member)

The T. Jeffrey Safari Company is a participant in the NRA’s “round-up” program, which allows customers to round up their safari trip purchases to the next round dollar increment, with the excess funds going directly to the NRA.

Gun Industry |
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