In the Minnesota caucuses, Democrat Tim Walz came out in first place in the race for governor. He was my last choice. He’s a Democrat who is good at getting the rural — that is, conservative Democrat — vote, and I scratched him off my list for consideration on the basis of one crucial fact: he’s got an A+ rating from the NRA. Nope. That’s like getting praise from the KKK; it might appeal to a certain demographic, but that’s one demographic I’d like to see ignored.
Among the Minnesota Democrats, they’re now distinguishing themselves with their gun control plans. That’s a good development.
State Rep. Erin Murphy, a former House majority leader from St. Paul, went the furthest. She outlined a six-point plan that includes limits on sales of certain ammunition, expanded background checks and a ban on sales of AR-15 rifles in Minnesota.
“The AR-15 was used in the Sandy Hook shooting, in the Pulse night club in Orlando, in the church in Texas, in Las Vegas and now in a classroom in Florida,” Murphy said. “It seems to me this is becoming a weapon of choice for mass shootings like this and they are creating mass casualties.”
She spoke proudly of the failing grade she received from the National Rifle Association for her past votes and positions on gun legislation, a not-so-subtle criticism of the race frontrunner, Tim Walz. The Democratic congressman has touted his support from the NRA in prior campaigns, donning a camouflaged NRA hat while running in a southern Minnesota district filled with rural towns.
“I do have an ‘F’ rating. He has an ‘A+’ rating,” Murphy said of Walz during a telephone interview Thursday. “That means he’s done their work plus the extra credit to get the plus. Minnesotans will have to judge for themselves what that means for Minnesota and their future. I think it’s important to draw the contrast.”
Walz is now trying to distance himself from the problem, after embracing it for so many years.
Walz, an avid hunter, defended his record and said he hasn’t been shy about breaking with the lobby for gun manufacturers and owners.
“I have voted for universal background checks more than anybody in this race,” Walz said. He said he has never personally been an NRA member and voted more than 30 times to bring up a background check measure “and not just since I’ve been running for governor but for the past several years.”
Walz said he has donated the equivalent of past contributions from the NRA to charity. Records show he and a political fund he controls received $18,000 over the years; recent campaign reports show him directing the money to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
But, he added, “I’m also not going to shy away that I have been a staunch supporter of the constitutional right of law abiding and lawful gun owners to own firearms.”
That’s nice. A representative should abide by and support the Constitution. They should also possess some sense of ethics and recognize when bad laws exist, and work to change them. Our constitution supported slavery; it was a long time coming, but eventually that was changed. There is a legal, constitutional mechanism for stripping bad ideas out, as was done with the 13th amendment.
Banning specific weapons is an OK idea, as is requiring more gun checks and waiting periods. I’m looking for a politician who will endorse an amendment to repeal the 2nd. How about it, Tim Walz? I might change my mind and support you if you were to stop relying on your dogmatic support for one amendment over the lives of your constituents.
The kids are all right. They know what needs to be done.