An A+ rating from the NRA ought to disqualify you from political office

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.


  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Can’t argue with your wish. Fortunately, my US Senators, Congresscritter, and State Senator and Representative agree with us.

  2. gijoel says

    I saw an interview of people coming out of a gun show in Florida and everyone of them was convinced that gun bans will do nothing.

  3. says

    #2 gijoel:

    I can just imagine the obstinateness coming from anyone who would still attend a gun show in the current climate.

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” — Upton Sinclair

  4. Holms says

    As good as the rest of her platform might be, banning weapons by name is not a good approach to the weapons on the market. All a manufacturer has to do is make some small modification, give it a new name, and hey presto! the gun is legal again. Which leads to a silly game in which the guns manufacturers are constantly finding ways to get around the ban on specific weapons, and legislators are constantly adding new names and variants to the list.

    A better approach to regulating what is and is not available for purchase is to go by clip size, rate-of-fire, loading mechanism (e.g. break action vs pump action shotguns) and other general weapon parameters. Weapons can be categorised and regulated en masse by those means. And none of this ‘weapons are banned if they have four of the following’ shenanigans, because that is what led to the confusing ‘assault weapons’ category and the extreme ease with which gun manufacturers could bypass the vaunted assault weapons ban.

  5. says

    Outlaw semiauto. Allow long guns (rifles, shotguns) to have no more than a 3-round internal (non-detachable) magazine, and bolt-action only. No lever action. No semiauto for handguns, and if you want a handgun you should have to demonstrate a reasonable need for one and it can only be a single-action revolver capable of holding no more than 6 rounds.

    This would at least give a chance for someone to tackle a mass shooter while they reload. It would slow their rate of fire enormously.

    None of the above restrictions are in conflict with their precious second amendment (it still allows gun ownership), and until the 2nd can be repealed then restrictions on the type of firearm should be possible. FFS, in 1789 there were no semiautomatic firearms, only muzzleloaders, and since these ammosexuals are always Constitution-fetishizing originalists, it would be fun to turn that originalism against them.

  6. says

    I have a hand gun from when I lived in a rough part of South Minneapolis during the crack epidemic. No I don’t need it now but I want it as I am older and couldn’t shoot a rifle if I needed too. There needs to be control I am totally for that but I have no records and have never been in trouble in my life and no longer have a big dog. Which is the best protection in my book. So I want the hand gun. I only took it out once in the bad neighborhood and had it on my table until my partner came home. But things can change fast so I want it in NE Minneapolis just in case. Although I will admit the police come a whole lot quicker in my neighborhood here than South Minneapolis then. Which is unfair as well but I do not know how to change that monetary/racial discrimination in Minneapolis.

  7. microraptor says

    I like the idea of banning semiautomatics and limiting rifles to three-shot magazines.

    It’s good for hunters, too: you have to actually make your shots count instead of just blasting away at a deer like you’re playing Halo.

  8. ck, the Irate Lump says

    It’s nice to see someone try to do something, but the AR-15 isn’t really the problem, though. The rot goes far deeper than a single weapon (or type of weapon) and trying to paper over the problem by targeting something this superficial isn’t going to do anything.

    The problem is the culture that treats firearms like toys instead of dangerous weapons. Maybe start prosecuting those who negligently handle their gun resulting in accidental discharge. Prosecute those who negligently store their guns that result in death or injury when someone who wasn’t supposed to have it (like children) accidentally shoots someone with it.

    The problem is the culture that says anyone should be able to get a gun (including hand guns, which usually get a pass when we’re talking about gun control), carry it and play with it in public. Overtly playing with guns in public should be treated like the implicit threat it is — assault with a weapon. Maybe it’s impossible to get rid of the second amendment, but that doesn’t mean anyone should tolerate this anti-social behavior.

    Previous weapon bans have had little to no effect, so it’s time to try something very different.

  9. says

    I don’t even mean banning semiautos as in “no more are allowed to be purchased but existing ones can stay.”

    I mean a buy back program for all semiauto weapons already out there, the owners can be paid for them or have them forcibly confiscated, their choice. Collect the fucking things en masse.

    You take liquor away from someone who clearly can’t handle it. It’s far past that point with the United States and its guns.

  10. jrkrideau says

    The Australian approach seems interesting. Basically outlaw all guns and then make an exception for those rural people who really need a gun as a working tool.

    Not likely to work in a North American context let alone a US one, but a nice ideal. And get rid of that stupid second Amendment.

  11. skeptomai says

    The Prime Minister (Howard) who really pushed the gun legislation through was on the conservative of politics in Australia.

  12. says

    I’m just an ignorant Australian. I know the US Declaration of Independence stated the right to life, liberty a the pursuit of happiness shall not be infringed. Now that right should trump any right to keep and bear weapons that infringe that right or does the first right in this crazy world where Trump is Scumbag in Chief and his loony tunes deputy gets messages from God only apply to fetuses. It seems to me the second amendment is to allow for a well-regulated militia not the weekend warriors that play war games with their pick ups as a stand-in tank and their AR15 penis extensions. Isn’t it just possible that the founding fathers saw the perils of todays mass shootings and included the words “well-regulated” to mean regulating guns to protect the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness from being infringed by inadequate human beings with guns they shouldn’t have. In other words regulating access to guns is actually mandated in the constitution.

  13. says

    I am British, and probably not fully up to speed with the nuances of the United States constitution. However, my reading of the Second Amendment leads me to believe that the right to bear arms is linked to being part of a “well regulated militia” . State National Guard units would seem to me to fulfil the description of “well regulated militias”. Therefore the right to bear arms would seem to be linked to being a member of the National Guard.

  14. madtom1999 says

    #6 margecullen. Get rid of the gun! The statistics prove that you are more likely to be killed by a family member or commit suicide with a gun than actually have a chance to defend yourself against anyone with a gun.
    Your partner is lucky you didnt shoot him when he came home!

  15. blf says

    Addendum to @14: Yes, get rid of the gun, but do so in a manner that prevents anyone else from using it. Have it melted down or something (your local police may, astonishingly, have advice).

  16. Zmidponk says


    I am British, and probably not fully up to speed with the nuances of the United States constitution. However, my reading of the Second Amendment leads me to believe that the right to bear arms is linked to being part of a “well regulated militia” . State National Guard units would seem to me to fulfil the description of “well regulated militias”. Therefore the right to bear arms would seem to be linked to being a member of the National Guard.

    Being British as well, I may have gotten the details wrong, but my understanding is that there has been a US Supreme Court ruling in the past that has held that the part about a ‘well regulated militia’ is nothing more than ‘legislative throat-clearing’, and therefore doesn’t actually mean anything (to the joy of US gun fondlers). Of course, the obvious question is ‘why did the people who wrote it put it there, then?’ I am not sure if anyone has come up with a sensible answer to that which explains this Supreme Court ruling.

  17. asclepias says

    Here in Wyoming, it is illegal to hunt with an AR-15. It is illegal to hunt small game with more than 3 rounds in the magazine. Don’t test the game wardens on that. They don’t have much of a sense of humor when it comes to violating game laws. Most responsible hunters will not hunt with something like an AR-15 because it’s a good way to ruin the meat. Just sayig.

  18. lumipuna says

    Second Amendment says:

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    It certainly doesn’t seem to say that unrestricted gun ownership will be granted (only) to members of militias, regulated or otherwise. A more historically sensible interpretation (I think) would be that the recruitment/equipment of militias implicitly relies on gun-owning populace, therefore the importance of militias is mentioned as a justification for unrestricted gun ownership.

    Now, in modern day this would be a grossly outdated justification, but apparently recent courts have ruled that it doesn’t matter. As long as the Second Amendment is not repealed, unrestricted gun ownership is valid law. Modern legislators would be responsible for updating the Constitution for modern needs, but it’s not happening due to shameless gun lobby and massive inbuilt inertia.

    Then again, this is just a random foreigner’s interpretation. Even Americans themselves seem quite unclear on how this stuff is supposed to work.

  19. blf says

    Second Amendment says:

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    No, that is not precisely what it says. For one thing, the above is missing two of the three commas (,) — which drives people to distraction in the controversy over just what was intended. With the missing commas, the official version says:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    The meaning is opaque. Courts have decided both ways, that it is only a collective (milita) right, and that is (also?) an individual right. From Clause and Effect (Dec-2007):

    The decision invalidating [Washington DC]’s gun ban […] cites the second comma (the one after “state”) as proof that the Second Amendment does not merely protect the “collective” right of states to maintain their militias, but endows each citizen with an “individual” right to carry a gun, regardless of membership in the local militia.

    How does a mere comma do that? According to the court, the second comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one “prefatory” and the other “operative.” On this reading, the bit about a well-regulated militia is just preliminary throat clearing; the framers don’t really get down to business until they start talking about “the right of the people … shall not be infringed.”

    The circuit court’s opinion is only the latest volley in a long-simmering comma war. In a 2001 Fifth Circuit case, a group of anti-gun academics submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief arguing that the “unusual” commas of the Second Amendment support the collective rights interpretation. According to these amici, the founders’ use of commas reveals that what they really meant to say was “a well-regulated militia … shall not be infringed.”


    Another problem with trying to find meaning in the Second Amendment’s commas is that nobody is certain how many commas it is supposed to have. The version that ended up in the National Archives has three, but that may be a fluke. Legal historians note that some states ratified a two-comma version. At least one recent law journal article refers to a four-comma version.

    However, as the quoted column goes on to note (which is essentially my position as well, the official version of the damn thing is utterly opaque and indecipherable, so focusing on what it “means” gets you precisely nowhere):

    Advocates of both gun rights and gun control are making a tactical mistake by focusing on the commas of the Second Amendment. After all, couldn’t one just as easily obsess about the founders’ odd use of capitalization? Perhaps the next amicus brief will find the true intent of the amendment by pointing out that “militia” and “state” are capitalized in the original, whereas “people” is not.

    Then there is what The Federalist Papers say…

  20. jack16 says

    In the present situation an effective approach would be state liability insurance for lethal weapons as is required for automobiles.

    Even better but more complex would be to emulate Canada.


  21. says

    For me, it’s more Walz’s past pandering to anti-immigration sentiment—voting for ‘increased vetting’ that did nothing but fearmonger—that make me dislike him. I’m not completely against the idea of choosing a rural Democratic-Farmer-Labor politician who doesn’t entirely agree with me, but somebody who can turn so easily against the inclusiveness DFLers rural and urban alike value sets a bad example and shouldn’t be a statewide DFL nominee. Vote Rebecca Otto in August!