The big DFL strategy in this election, so far, seems to be to scare to death the voters who they haven’t bored to death.
There was a debate on Wednesday in Bemidji. Since a couple of districts – 2A and 5A – are in play in the Bemidji area, candidate from both were apparently in the ring.
The topic turned to gun control:
In response to a question on gun control, [HD2A GOP challenger Dave] Hancock said shooting incidents usually occur in places where guns are banned.
“If we look we look at the areas where tragedy has occurred with guns, they are usually in gun-free zone(s),” he said. “Where you have people armed and carrying concealed weaponry, the criminal in use of a gun thinks twice.”
That’s pretty much the fact. Hancock got it right. No surprise there.
Here’s where it gets interesting – and when I say “interesting”, I mean “A DFLer starts saying things that misinform the uninformed”. The DFL’s Joe Persell responded to the question; I’m going to add emphasis:
Persell disagreed, saying carrying weapons can exacerbate tense situations.
“Folks that are out there carrying, playing cop … I don’t think we want them to be doing that,” he said. “There’s more instances of people being killed because they are carrying, and they think somebody said something nasty, and they felt threatened, and so they shot them.”
Really, Rep. Persell?
I wanted to ask Rep. Persell to name one example of either of a Minnesotan…:
- being killed because they were “playing cop”
- killing someone who “said something nasty” to them.
Conversation: I sent Rep. Persell an email asking for clarification. He contacted me, saying he’d been taken out of context in the Bemidji Pioneer. We wound up having a conversation last night. I pointed out that there has never been such a case involving a legal post 2003 carry permit holder in the state of Minnesota (although there were a few incidents with pre-2003 permits – the ones issued by sheriffs).
Rep. Persell told me that the conversation referred to the Second Amendment as a general, nationwide issue, and that he was referring to cases like those of Michael Dunn, the Florida man who shot a teenager over, the court case said, “loud music”.
Those cases certainly grab the headlines – the media, being left-of-center and largely anti-gun, makes sure they do.
But even those lavishly-publicized incidents are exceedingly rare. I ran the numbers, nationwide, a few years ago; in a typical year, a carry permittee is two orders of magnitude less likely to commit any kind of crime than the general public.
So while Persell wasn’t “lying”, per se, he was focusing attention on a type of incident that is exceedingly rare in real life. While his original quote in the Bemidji Pioneer may have been out of context, the context of his remark is misleading and inflammatory.
The problem with guns, statistically, nationwide, isn’t a guy with a carry permit killing someone unjustifiably. It’s the thousands of criminals without permits who kill people without regard to the law at all.
Hope that word gets out…