Who coulda seen this coming?
Representative Michael Paymar got an op-ed placed in the PiPress last week. He used the space to complain about the way the session turned out for his gun control agenda.
Now, as I noted a few weeks back, Paymar has settled into the legacy of Wes Skogland – who I once nicknamed “Lying Sack of Garbage” for his facility and fluency at lying about guns, gun laws, and the law-abiding gun owner.
And this op-ed is no exception.
The legislative session concluded, sadly, with very little progress on preventing gun violence.
The murder rate in Minnesota – with and without guns – has plunged over the past 20 years, and especially the past ten, as Minnesota’s gun laws “liberalized”. Minnesota is a much safer place today than it was in 1993.
But that’s not the kind of progress Skoglund…um, Paymar – wants.
So what did Paymar want? And what was the purpose of this Op Ed?
It’s simple: to deceive the people – especially the low-information voters the DFL depends on.
The Magic Disappearing Months: His first complaint is that his raft of bills just didn’t get enough time:
I’m disappointed that legislators didn’t have an opportunity to vote, or even debate, sensible gun control measures like background checks.
Well, yes. They did.
The DFL-controlled legislature spent endless weeks debating gun control bills in committee. They started in late January, and ran into April. The DFL launched nearly a dozen gun bills – everything from background checks to re-jiggering the concealed carry law to confiscating guns with magazines larger than seven rounds. There were many hearings.
Paymar just didn’t like what he heard. Minnesotans turned out in force against his agenda.
It was a show of resolution even the DFL couldn’t ignore.
The real debate – the one in Minnesota’s homes, streets, businesses, VFWs – has been held, and resolved. The DFL lost.
“Look At My Bloody Shirt!”: Paymar next tries to turn to numbers – and, again, lies about ‘em:
It is not surprising the public is cynical about politicians and political parties. Every year, 12,000 people die from firearm homicides and 18,000 more from firearm suicides, and yet, our elected officials continue to abdicate their responsibilities.
Again – according to what?
The firearm murder rate, nationwide and in Minnesota, is a fraction of what it was when Michael Paymar’s talking points were written in the eighties.
After the unimaginable massacre of 20 children at Sandy Hook and the shootings at Accent Signage in Minneapolis, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a movie theatre in Aurora Colorado, a political gathering in Arizona, a college campus in Virginia, a high school in Colorado, and the random shooting in Oakdale — not to mention the thousands of gun deaths in our cities — I thought we had reached a tipping point.
And we did reach that tipping point. It was over a decade ago, when a majority of Americans realized that none of the DFL’s gun bills would have prevented Sandy Hook, Accent, or any of the other shootings that the DFL waved about like bloody shirts in the hearing rooms. None of them would have saved a single life in any of those atrocities.
And most Americans – not the low-information NPR-listening hamsters that vote for Paymar, but the real ones – know this.
And that was the tipping point.
Follow The Money: Paymar notes that:
The hearings were informative, demonstrating that preventing mass shootings and reducing gun violence in our communities are both challenging and complex... We can’t ignore the conditions that give rise to gang activity and violent crime. We can’t ignore the glorification of violence as a means to settle conflicts.
Although ignore them we did. Why? It’d be easy to say “because the key stakeholders in creating each of those problems – our disastrous urban education system, an urban culture that glorifies violence, and a Hollywood that rakes in billions from glorifying mayhem, are respectively key Democrat power blocs, constituencies and donors”.
But just because it’s easy, is it necessarily wrong?
Details, Details: Paymar moves on to his final attempt at legislation:
I authored the Gun Violence Prevention Act. This legislation would have given law enforcement the ability to deny a permit to purchase handguns or semi-automatic military-style assault weapons if the applicant was determined to be a danger to self or others. The bill would have tightened up laws on “straw purchases” of firearms that often end up in the commission of crimes. The centerpiece of the bill was universal background checks — extending checks to gun-shows, Internet sales and private sales. Sales to relatives and hunting rifles were excluded.
The bill also removed due process by denying appeals to those wrongly denied, by giving law enforcement sweeping power to act like shrinks, and adding a level of bureaucracy to handing down firearms to ones next of kin and, above all, required all firearms transfers to go through federally licensed dealers – requiring a payment of a fee to both the police and the dealer, a system that’ll add a minimum of $50 to the price of every firearm, and likely more, as a substantially similar law did in California.
While criminals found other black-market means of getting firearms, avoiding the background check system completely – because criminals don’t work within laws, much less obey them - the poor were even further priced out of the market.
Reductio Ad Paymar: Paymar continues:
The NRA and its affiliate organizations claim that background checks are an infringement on Second Amendment rights. They claim that background checks won’t prevent crime or mass shootings — that only law-abiding citizens will be inconvenienced. If that’s the case, then perhaps we shouldn’t require background checks on any purchase of a firearm…But in 1999, after the mass shooting at Columbine High School, the NRA’s leader, Wayne La Pierre, told Congress, “It’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes for anyone.” What has changed?
Here’s what’s changed; the Democrats.
Twenty years ago, it was possible for gun rights supporters to find common cause with the likes of, for crying out loud, Paul Freaking Wellstone. In the nineties, the NICS system was set up via the bipartisan efforts of people who actually wanted to deal with crime, rather than disarm society. The NICS system – supported by the NRA as well as liberals – actually made an impact in crime.
The Democrats – especially Paymar and the DFL, wasted months of legislative time this session pursuing bills that would never have had any effect on crime.
“All My Friends Say I’m Right!”: Paymar reels off an unsurprising list of supporters:
The Supreme Court has been clear: Reasonable gun restrictions do not infringe on the Second Amendment. Polls show that 70 percent to 80 percent of Minnesotans support background checks — Democrats, Republicans, metro and rural. The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, neighborhood groups ravaged by gun violence and Gov. Dayton all support background checks.
The poll was an absurd push poll; of course people support background checks – in the abstract. I support background checks, in the abstract.
The devil is in the details. The bill Paymar offered was rife with opportunities for abuse, and one that even the dumbest SEIU member could see would have no meaningful effect on crime.
“Why Don’t All You Child-Killing Scumbags Want To Have A Meaningful Dialogue With Me?”: Paymar closes with a call to dialogue:
Also, upon reflection, I wonder if there is room for dialogue and common ground between both sides on this volatile issue. I was vilified by some for my advocacy for gun control. But, when I had chance to talk to gun-rights folks face to face and with my legislative colleagues (especially from rural districts), we found areas of commonality. We all care about our children’s wellbeing. We all want to keep firearms out of the hands out of people who shouldn’t possess them. We all want our communities to be safe places. Is it possible to end the demonization of each other? Is it possible to listen to different perspectives? We can and must find solutions to prevent gun violence.
As one of the people who vilified Michael Paymar with remorseless accuracy, I’ll answer that.
You want dialogue, Representative Paymar? Excellent. I’m more than up for it. Let’s talk. Perhaps we’ll both learn something.
Your interest in “dialogue” might seem more sincere might seem more authentic if you hadn’t just supported Representative Alice Hausman’s HF241, which called for the confiscation of firearms with magazines of more than seven rounds. Not background checks; confiscation.
It might seem a little more sincere if your own efforts at “Dialogue” reached out to people other than fellow legislators and people inside the clubby little anti-gun clique that you surround yourself with:
That’s Heather Martens, leader and (it’s reasonable to suspect) sole member of “Protect Minnesota”, a woman who’s yet to make a single true, non-numeric statement about firearms. Ever.
And next to her, Jane Kay, who tweeted during a hearing:
You want “dialogue?” Talk with the real people involved in this issue. Not satirical cartoons like Heather Martens. Not hate-choked extremists like Kay. The real people.
Until you do, all your talk of “dialogue” is just vapor.
In fact, I’ll meet you halfway. Please come on the Northern Alliance Radio Network one of these next Saturdays. It’ll be a real dialogue – complete with an articulate opponent.