Back in the early days of this blog – the early 2000s – I used to refer to then -Senator Wes Skoglund of MInneapolis as “A Lying Sack of Garbage”.
It was deeply uncivil – but it was accurate. If it came from his mouth, and it was about guns, gun owners, gun laws, gun crime, the Second Amendment, it’s legal and factual history, it was a lie. Full stop.
Favorite pullquote from history – in 2003, he opposed Shall Issue carry permit reform because he said, in the Strib, that it’d allow gang members to get carry permits (a claim never fact-checked by any local media). I’m fairly sure he knew better – but then as now, DFL pols could count on their voters being less than adept at critical thinking.
It’s been almost pointless to note which Democrat pols have inherited the “Lying Sack of Garbage” mantel – it’s generally easier to point out the ones that tell the truth than the ones that don’t.
But in this op-ed in the Strib, Senator John Marty strips down to his skivvies and rolls around in a slop pit if lies, slander and dishonor, putting himself on the short list to inherit the title.
It’s about his proposal to ban carry at the capitol – an attempt to roll back legislation from 2015 that allowed Minnesotans with valid carry permits to not be disarmed at the Capitol.
It’s almost Nancy Nord Bence-level:
The sight of people flaunting assault rifles is becoming commonplace at political rallies of Trump supporters and right-wing causes. During the past year, Michigan, Oregon, Kentucky and Idaho all had incidents where people, armed to the teeth and dressed for combat, walked into their state Capitols to threaten public officials. These incidents made national news because the brazen intimidation was so shocking.
It’s so cute that the party that has no problem with “Anti”-Fa thugs patrolling the outskirts and aftermaths of their “peaceful protests”, that employs “woke” culture to intimidate dissent at schools, in the workplace and in the public square, and sicced the IRS on their opponents as suddenly developed scruples about “intimidation”.
Fifty years ago, it wasn’t this way. In 1967, when the Black Panthers walked into the California state Capitol heavily armed, there was strong bipartisan support for prohibiting the carrying of loaded firearms. Then-Gov. Ronald Reagan and even the NRA supported the Mulford Act, which sharply restricted the carrying of guns, not just in the California Capitol, but elsewhere. Reagan said there is “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”
When people on the left start quoting Reagan, stand by for a gale of mangled context.
Reagan’s response to the Black Panthers was among the worst of his few mistakes. Marty deserves to be told as much.
Now however, when it is largely white conservatives who are taking guns to Capitols, the NRA and the Republican Party seem to consider it perfectly appropriate for their allies to use guns to intimidate political opponents.
I can’t speak to Senator Marty’s sense of proportion or stability. But given that the people with the gun are all people who are over 21, have all passed training courses and multiple background checks thereby proving that they are better bets, criminologically speaking, per capita, than the House DFL Caucus, one might suggest Marty is crying wolf.
And either doing it ignorantly, or (more likely) presuming his Democrat audience just doesn’t care that much about the facts:
We do not allow people to bring guns into county courthouses, into many big office buildings in the Twin Cities or at Vikings, Wild and Twins games. Thirty-two other states require people to walk through a metal detector before entering their Capitol buildings.
Where to start with that graf?
- We don’t allow carry in any courthouse, federal, state, county or municipal. Anywhere. The 2003 Minnesota Personal Protection Act let the judicial branch make those decisions itself.
- The office buildings and sports venues are private property. They have the ability – misguided though it is – to ban firearms. It’s one reason I rarely if ever patronize major league sports.
- Re the metal detectors – so?
Now, we leave mere ignorance – personal or implied – and get into actual prevarication:
The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus urged their members to show up, armed, to those committee meetings. There were about 150 notifications for one such hearing in 2013, almost triple the number in the entire previous year.
A hearing on gun legislation does not pose any greater safety risk than other hearings and there is no greater need for personal protection. Opponents of gun legislation carry guns to those hearings to intimidate.
There are other ways guns are used to intimidate as well. One lobbyist told some legislators whom she was lobbying that she carried a gun at the Capitol because she feared people lobbying on the other side of the issue, calling them dangerous — an insidious way of undermining her opponents. It is not surprising that the opponents reported difficulty getting appointments to make their case with legislators.
The 2005 law that allowed carrying of handguns in public allowed the same people to carry assault rifles and other long guns in public. That has led to the increasingly common sight of heavily armed people at rallies and protests. They are not armed for personal protection. They do so to intimidate and strike fear in others.
Minnesotans can consider and discuss gun legislation as rational adults; hearings should be conducted without armed intimidation. Consequently, I have introduced SF 2048, which would prohibit the carrying of guns at the Capitol and restore the law that blocked people from bringing assault rifles to rallies and protests.
We should take security at the Capitol and at political rallies seriously before there is a tragic attack that kills people. At some point, security experts might determine that metal detectors are needed at the Capitol. Unfortunately, metal detectors create an oppressive climate which makes a place feel more militarized and less safe. Whether or not they are necessary now, we should prepare and plan for the possibility in the future, including quick implementation if a credible threat appears. But for now, it’s time to treat the Capitol like county courthouses and other places that prohibit guns. Public discourse on contentious issues can be done in a rational manner without allowing some to intimidate others. Public safety will benefit as well.
Allowing guns at the Capitol in these divided times is a recipe for disaster.
The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus urged their members to show up, armed, to [the 2013 House] committee meetings. There were about 150 notifications for one such hearing in 2013, almost triple the number in the entire previous year.
The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus wasn’t founded until 2014. The MNGOC has never urged people to bring guns anywhere, and has always eschewed the idea of open carry at the Capitol.
Marty is either lying, or assuming his audience is too stupid to know better.
My vote is “both”.
Oh, yeah – and that 2015 legislation that allows citizens to carry firearms, legally, with a permit, on the Capitol grounds?
Marty voted for it.