Gun Questions - Website Submission February 18, 2018
I received two specific questions related to guns through the website submission page. My responses are below.
(1) Do you consider owning an AR15 "responsible" gun ownership?
(2) Will you accept money from the NRA to support your campaign?
My son will turn four in a couple weeks and I'm terrified by the idea of enrolling him in a preschool. I can't imagine my son learning to finger paint in a classroom without absolute fear washing over me. My wife is not taking it nearly as well as I am. I was at Blooming Prairie High School when Columbine happened -- 2 days before my 18th birthday. This has literally been a problem my entire adult life.
This is a stupid problem.
I support the 2nd Amendment and I believe it has a place in our modern times. I also believe in Article 2, Section 2 of the same constitution-- this gives the President the power of Commander in Chief of the Militia of the several States. I also believe in Article 13, Section 9 of the Minnesota State Constitution which outlines our state government’s responsibility to keep an organized and disciplined Militia. Several states have attempted to be clever and make every one of their citizens a member of the State Militia-- would they feel so clever if President Trump decided to exercise his constitutional right and have those citizen militias become active in Afghanistan for the ongoing war on terror? I don't say this to be funny or clever but rather to point out the very clear and very real purpose for these constitutional provisions. Random people with guns are not a State Militia. Socrates once said "A disorderly mob is no more an army than a heap of building materials is a house."
I couldn't take money from the NRA. Although the NRA was once a respectable organization it has turned away from responsible firearm safety. Not too long ago I would have considered taking their money and using it to publish information on the full purpose of the Second Amendment. I figured it wouldn't be harmful if they gave me money once and never would again. Then my wife asked if I would be okay with the NRA claiming they were non-partisan and using my name as an example. I wouldn't. I really love the thought and work that went into our constitution. I marvel at the thought and work that goes into our Democracy every single year for the past two and a half centuries. The NRA is playing a toxic game with our democracy. They are twisting the hard work our founding fathers gave us and playing a game with our principals all while babies are being murdered as a sacrifice to their less than sincere fun. Laura is right, I'm not letting them add my name to their garbage game. There are citizens that are owed something from the NRA but I won't be the middleman.
I do believe that there are people who can responsibly own an AR-15 but we are nowhere near that conversation. Saying you are responsible isn't even close to proving you are responsible. There is no version of reality that allows a person to both respect the power, capabilities, and destructive life-ending force of an AR-15 (or similar) and to also say that such a weapon shouldn't be closely regulated. If someone says they are a responsible gun owner and that we have enough regulations then they are wrong on their first point. Responsibility requires respect, respect requires regulation-- if not for yourself then for the other guy.
I'm running against a man who offers bills to the MN legislature that would stop Minnesota police from enforcing gun laws. He has written bills to discourage County Attorney Offices from charging unjustified use of force. He has introduced bills to eliminate permits for conceal and carry-- allowing anyone to carry a weapon without question. This is going to be a very noisy issue for the 2018 election year. Fear tactics are going to be thrown around a lot because, well, because he doesn't want people talking about infrastructure, clean water, or the rural economy.
I don't believe this is an easy issue in the big picture. I do know that the first steps are overdue, very overdue, pathetically overdue. It's not too soon to talk about this, it’s too late. I know that the first steps are obvious though. I know that background checks need to be more detailed. I know that people with a pattern of violent behavior, especially domestic violence, need to be monitored closely if they plan to own dangerous weapons. I know that anybody walking the public streets needs to be accountable for any firearm they carry with them. I know bump-stocks and silencers/ suppressors don't have a place in a grown up discussion. I know that we are less safe if things stay exactly how they are. I know that gun owners don't get to be defensive but should be leading the movement for firearm reforms-- if they are part of this militia they should be embarrassed.