Former National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Rathner, a veteran of some of the toughest policy battles at the Capitol, has started his own lobbying firm.
This time, Rathner said he wants to work with companies that seek to promote a business-friendly environment in Arizona.
In lobbying for business, Rathner could find himself allied with groups like the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Arizona Restaurant Association, which have clashed with him on gun legislation.
But Rathner said he still won’t lobby for an anti-gun legislation or work to repeal gun laws he advocated for.
As NRA’s representative at the Capitol, Rathner helped to push some of the biggest gun bills in the last few years.
That included legislation to allow those who have a concealed-weapons permit to bring a firearm into restaurants and other establishments that sell alcohol, including bars. It requires restaurant owners who don’t want guns on their property to post a sign stating that firearms are prohibited.
Rathner also worked on a bill that prohibits property owners, tenants, public or private employers and businesses from establishing and enforcing any policy that prohibits a person from transporting or storing a firearm that is in the person’s locked car or in a motorcycle’s locked compartment.
Rathner said he intends to use his expertise and the relationships he has developed as an NRA representative to help companies.
“I’m a strong advocate. I’m a guy that’s going to stand up for my clients and I’m going to get the job done for them,” he said.
Rathner said he actually agrees with business groups more than he disagrees with them when it comes to business philosophy.
“A business-friendly climate is lower taxes and less regulation on business,” he said.
Rathner also said while his battles with business groups were passionate at times, the parties walked away with mutual respect and their relationship remained civil.
Rathner remains a member of the NRA board.