A group of civil rights activists assembled outside the Minnesota State Capitol on Monday in support of the right to keep and bear arms, reports Minnesota Public Radio News. This marked the first time that two gun advocacy groups — Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee and the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance — jointly organized an official lobbying day. They were joined by Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt, who “told the rally that he will stand with gunowners to protect their rights,” MPR reports . . .
“I’m a sportsman myself, and I have a permit to carry a handgun,” the Speaker was reported as saying.
The assembled people had several items on their plate.
Andrew Rothman, president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, said they want Minnesota to join 46 other states that have the right to keep and bear arms spelled out in the state constitution. He said they also want a law that would prevent police from confiscating firearms during times of emergency.
Rothman told the crowd he was very disappointed to hear that state Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, was proposing to ban guns in polling places on Election Day.
“We have 185,000 permit holders in the state, and have we ever had an incident at a polling place?,” Rothman asked. “No, but someone saw a gun and it made them frightened, so let’s pass a law. I’m tired of that.”
For her part, Senator Sheran has not actually filed a bill yet, and was noncommittal in the report:
‘I’m trying to figure out why it isn’t a reasonable request to keep the polling place safe,” Sheran said. “I’m listening to all these different ways of thinking about how to improve the feeling of safety and security for these election judges. That’s as far as I’ve gone with it.”
I certainly wish our friends in Minnesota well. It is good to see how much progress has been made in the state so quickly; the state has only had a shall-issue concealed carry law since 2005, and ten years later, even a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Laborer Party can’t even voice full support for the idea of a bill to roll back a small portion of the gains the state has enjoyed in expanding the civil right to keep and bear arms for its residents. Even in an interview for public radio, no less.
I’d also like to gently suggest that the manner in which this rally was conducted sounds like a better example of how to have to win friends and influence people amongst the denizens of legislative bodies (vice simply making a splash in the news) than some other recent examples.