September 6, 2006


Once a Progressive State, Minnesota Is Now a Fief of the N.R.A. (VERLYN KLINKENBORG, 9/05/06, NY Times)

A couple of weeks ago, I checked into a hotel in Bloomington, a Minneapolis suburb framed by the airport and the Mall of America. On the hotel door was a sign: “Firearms Banned on These Premises.” The next day I drove to St. Joseph, an hour west of the Twin Cities, where I saw the same sign. Slowly the logical conclusion sank in. If firearms are banned on these premises, then they must not be banned in other places.

Sure enough, a year ago the State Legislature passed a “concealed carry” law, which means that it’s legal to carry a concealed weapon if you have a permit. [...]

This is what I’d expect of Florida, which recently passed a “shoot first” — also called a “shoot the Avon lady” — bill. I’d expect it of Texas too. But Minnesota? I grew up thinking of Minnesota as a socially progressive state.

Since we had kids, The Wife won't even let me keep my gun in the house, and I certainly feel no need to carry one around. However, it's fairly rudimentary politics to understand why statists oppose an armed citizenry.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 6, 2006 9:39 AM

Just so. That the left has gone into the stealth mode on guns will not avail them, for the RKBA movement presses forward on all fronts.

We see here the paradigm taking back the right to life, one state at a time.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 6, 2006 10:40 AM

Wow, that article is a laugh a minute! For example:

* The Minnesota of his past is the same place that had a Senator who in 1960 said:

Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to bear arms. . . . [T]he right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.

-Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, "Know Your Lawmakers", _Guns_, Feb. 1960

* "Every concealed weapon, with very few exceptions, is a blow against the public safety." Yet he doesn't bother to cite any shooting or crime statistics, which is no wonder since they don't bear out his claim that permissive Concealed Carry results in more shootings.

* "The police are trained to handle guns." Klinkenborg, meet Condrea, who has an ongoing feature called "The Only Ones" that clearly illustrate that the police are just as fallible as any other human beings (and often are NOT highly qualified to use firearms.)

* 'No one is safer if gun-carrying civilians believe their rights entitle them to pretend they’re cops." Now our author needs to meet Cramer and Drum and their Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog.

NOT that any of these are likely to permeate his cranium, but still...

Posted by: Kirk Parker at September 6, 2006 11:21 AM

Perhaps he is becoming aware that Minneapolis St. Paul do not Minnesota make.

Posted by: KRS at September 6, 2006 12:52 PM

How funny. But then again people from the NYT are constantly exposed to shocking surprises pretty much anywhere in the country they go.

Posted by: ZF at September 6, 2006 1:04 PM

MN politics is purple, blue in the cities and red outstate.

The legislature is split about 50-50, with the Iron Range having the swing vote -- the iron mining region upstate that collapsed economically during the 70s + 80s recessions and never recovered. It is much like John Murtha's PA district (coal miners), with its socially conservative yellow-dog Democrats.

The Iron Range tilted the votes enough to pass CC.

Posted by: Gideon at September 6, 2006 1:18 PM

That could only be written by an Easterner, or possibly a Californian. WA state, as another "socially progressive" example, has always had some of the loosest gun laws in the nation. You can carry guns into the State Capitol.

Posted by: Timothy at September 6, 2006 1:38 PM

OK, if nobody else is gonna bite the bullet...

Orrin, if someone decides not to own or carry a firearm, that's pretty good prima facie evidence that they should not do so. Therefore, please be assured that what follows is not an attempt to get you to reconsider that decision. Rather, it's for the sake of other readers, who might not be as current on these issues, that I'd like to take serious exception to your (or the Wife's) reasoning.

First of all, child safety is a small, and decreasing, issue. At the same time that US firearm ownership has reached an all-time high, accidental shootings are at an all-time low, much lower in the child age range than fatalities from drowning, let alone the biggie--auto accidents. (I cringe at the use Orrin may make of that last statistic!) Ironically, in light of the attempted vilification in the article, the NRA deserves a significant part of the credit for this reduction due to its firearm-safety programs. Sure, it takes some effort to make firearms secure in a home with small children, and then train them to be safe around them when they get older--but then so does buckling the kids into their safety seats!

And then about personal safety: admittedly NH is orders of magnitude safer than gun-banning places like Chicago and DC, but still the crime rate in your neck of the woods isn't exactly zero. People need to determine for themselves what arrangements they make for their own personal safety; I just hope y'all didn't somehow miss the numerous discreditings of Kellerman's fallacious "you're more likely to be killed with your own gun" study, or the recent study showing that women rape victims who fought back with guns were the least likely to be injured.

Posted by: Kirk Parker at September 6, 2006 1:51 PM


Indeed. One other thing about WA state firearms law that I never miss an opportunity to point out: our concealed-carry law has absolutely no training requirement!

Now before anyone gets all paniced about that, it turns out that our permit-holders apparently are responsible citizens, and get the training they feel they actually need, as our rates of (a) permit cancellation due to technical violation and (b) crimes involving permit-holders are about as low as anyone else's. (Low enough, that is, to be complete non-issues, except perhaps to the statistically illiterate who find huge year-to-year variances in these vanishingly small samples to be alarming.)

Maybe it just meants the nanny-state isn't so essential after all...

Posted by: Kirk Parker at September 6, 2006 2:00 PM

It's so close to zero that accidental death is more likely than death by mischief. of course, we don't have a pool either, because they're more dangerous to kids than guns.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2006 2:05 PM

Plus you have a backyard the size of a postage stamp. I don't think you could fit a kiddie wading pool in that thing.

Posted by: Bryan at September 6, 2006 2:35 PM

You haven't seen how much of the wetlands I've filled in....

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2006 2:50 PM

What if your kids spontaneously combust in the back yard while being attacked by bears? How are you going to quickly exstinguish them and kill the bear? I have serious concerns about your children's welfare.

Posted by: RC at September 6, 2006 4:04 PM

The kids can take the bear without the flames. We only have black bears here.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2006 4:39 PM

What if your flaming black bears spontaneously speciate?

Posted by: paul s at September 6, 2006 5:28 PM

Who needs a backyard when you've got a basement?

And anyway, what good are backyards? I mean, how many books can you keep in a backyard?

You only need space for the grill. And the brick pizza oven.

. . . And maybe the batting cage.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 6, 2006 9:34 PM

It has fallen a long way since Hubert Humphrey largely because we have forgotten what he actually believed. HHH was a supporter of gun ownership. Not for hunting or target shooting but (1960):

"Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used, and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to keep and bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."

The right to keep and bear arms didn't used to be a wedge issue for the Republicans. We let it become one, and it has cost us terribly. If the AWB ban had not passed under shameful circumstances we'd still have the Senate and probably the House. This is according to former President Clinton and former Speaker Tom Foley. Kerry didn't take union-loving West Virginia largely because he was perceived as a gun grabber by a crucial fraction of the residents.

So now, if you're a gun owner and believe in the right to keep and bear arms the Party has no place for you. We confirmed the worst fears of millions of people with firearms, so they left for the Republicans, probably forever.

Posted by: Dan Gambiera at September 16, 2006 2:56 PM