AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
Anti-gun legislators in Minnesota desperately wanted to pass a little gun control this year. They worked their butts off, trying to make it happen. I have to give them that.
However, the legislative session ended without new gun control laws being passed.
The finish was messy and long negotiations behind closed doors stirred up indignation, but Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota legislative leaders found a way to work together for deals on taxes, spending and policy to finish the essential work of the 2019 session.
The Democratic governor from Mankato rolled into office cheerleading his vision of “One Minnesota” and argued for new taxes to pay for it. In the end the leaders split their differences over taxes and spending, and dropped most of the controversial policy proposals that went too far for the other side to accept such as gun control.
When anti-gun lawmakers take office, they tend to believe that the people who they now represent are universally supportive of all their positions. That’s not remotely true, of course.
In a case like gun control, I’ve found that those who support it don’t rate it as that critical to their decision-making when voting while those who oppose it do. However, even that’s not universal. Many will back an anti-gun candidate believing that perhaps the rest of their positions are sufficient to warrant that support or believing that other layers of government will prevent gun control from happening.
That appears to be what happened here.
Minnesota is a prime example of one very important principle: Never back down.
It would have been easy for Minnesota lawmakers to roll over and let gun control pass. They could have voted against it and probably gotten re-elected by their constituents, but they didn’t settle for that. They drew a firm line and then made damn sure they wouldn’t be pushed from that line.
In the process, they preserved gun rights for the good people of Minnesota.
It’s not unlike the line that Republicans in Oregon recently drew. They refused to allow the state’s draconian gun control proposals to be passed, so they did all they could to defeat it. They won on that issue.
Now, Oregon Republicans didn’t win so convincingly that they’ll never see those measures again. I suspect the same could be said for Minnesota.
However, it seems that both of these states have shown how effective firm opposition to gun control can be. By remaining steadfast, they made the anti-gun legislators blink, thus averting the disaster. They stopped these bills by refusing to back down and used whatever tools were available to them.
I applaud these lawmakers.
Additionally, I urge state representatives and state senators to look at this and learn from it. Next year, I’d love to see these efforts replicated all over the country.
If the threat to our Second Amendment rights is constantly thwarted, anti-gun lawmakers will move onto other measures they can push that will please their constituents enough to get them elected again. It’ll also send a signal to Congress that we’re not interested in losing our constitutionally-protected rights.
Whether they listen or not, well…that’s anyone’s guess.