Democrats loud, Republicans quiet on gun control and NRA comments

WASHINGTON – Both Republicans and Democrats tend to make a lot of noise in Washington on the issues of the day. But following the massacre of 26 students and teachers at an elementary school last week, Republicans have gone almost completely quiet on the subject of gun control.

None of the three Republican lawmakers from Minnesota who will be returning to Congress next year have responded to requests for a comment from MPR News on Friday’s proposal from the National Rifle Association to hire armed security guards and police to be stationed in all of the nation’s schools. (2nd District Congressman John Kline did speak with MPR News on Tuesday about some gun control-related issues but no other Minnesota Republican has spoken since.)

Democrats were less shy.

“No legal organization in America is more responsible than the NRA for lobbying to ensure the proliferation of killer guns while denying law enforcement tools to stop killers,” said St. Paul U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum in a written statemewnt. “[NRA vice president] Wayne LaPierre’s call for guards and guns in every school building and playground is madness and a perverse vision for life in America.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a gun owner who received the NRA’s endorsement in this past election, was also critical of the group’s proposal, calling it “deeply disappointing.”

“I refuse to believe that our schools need to become armed encampments where our children don’t feel safe,” said Walz in a call with reporters.

Earlier this week, Walz announced his willingness to consider new limits on assault-style weapons and large ammunition clips, steps he had previously resisted.

Neither of Minnesota’s two Democratic U.S. Senators wanted to comment directly on the NRA’s proposal. Both had attended the funeral of long-serving U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye on Friday morning and said they had not seen the NRA press conference nor had any time to hear about the group’s plan for armed guards in schools.

“I’m not sure that’s the best solution,” said U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

“As to whether or not that’s practical enough, we’ll have to look at the numbers,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Both Klobuchar and Franken support what’s rapidly becoming the Democrats’ preferred response to the shootings: greater limits on assault-style weapons and large ammunition clips, along with tighter background checks for gun buyers and an increased emphasis on mental health screenings.

The pair will have a front row seat to whatever happens with gun control next year. They both sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee which is likely to hold major hearings on gun violence as early as January.

  • Connie

    I do not own a gun of any kind. I do have children in school. I am 56 years old and female. I have watched The United States of America change so much. It does even surprize me anymore at the people and their thoughts and actions. It’s very sad. There are so many problems and no solutions. So many demands and no one to give. People need to wake up and take a good look at what is happening. Now gun control. Who will be the only people to follow the laws of any type of gun control? The people that would never use a gun against another person, thats who. We cannot control illegals from coming into this country, we cannot control our hard earned dollars supporting these illegals, we cannot stop a plane crashing into our towers, we cannot control drug use in this country, we cannot control rapist, etc. It goes on and on. Why? Because these people want to stop the decent people from having any rights. When will you learn that we have to do something for the good people of this country and stop taking their rights away because some mentally ill person does something no one expects. Why don’t we see it coming? Because we don’t think like that. We think take our rights away. Well, my friends, we have just about lost all our rights. Gun control will never stop a bank robber, drug dealer or a mentally ill person from getting a weapon and doing what they want to do. I hate the thought of having to have police at an elementary school to protect our children and teachers. But those days are here. So the people think gun control….So time after time the bad people can do as they please. And the good lose again. No one could protect the children without some type of weapon. Yet, after 3 or 4 times now its the school that has no protection, not the villians. As bad as it may sound, we owe our children a safe school to attend. I vote to protect them by either having teachers armed or armed policemen on the premises at all times.

    We have got to come to the surface and look at what is going on. Sad as it may be, we have to protect not talk any more.

    My daughter had a stalker. The police were called several times. He was indited by a grand jury of 4 counts of terrorist threaths. I was told to get a piece of paper to protect my daughter. Guess what the paper didn’t do the job. Why? Because he has a mental problem. I was told by the DA’ s office, he hasn’t done enough. She hasn’t been hurt physically. So I guess me not having a gun will protect her. I know for a fact he does. He has threatened to use it. Yet, I am the only one gun control will hurt. He has no respect for the law or the consequences if he hurts her. Thats how they think. So how will gun control serve the law abiding citizen? SAD,but it leaves me unable to protect my child of 15 years.

    People think before you decide. To me its no different than a wild hog attacking you. How are you going to protect your child or yourself? Hold up a piece of paper?

  • Roxane

    I think the discussion is centered around banning semi-automatic assault weapons, etc. I have not heard anywhere that the discussion is to take away the right to own a gun. You still should be able to own a rifle, a hand gun, or a Nancy Reagan “teeny tiny gun”.

    The second amendment gives a citizen the right to bear arms. At the time it was written, it meant a musket to protect your life and property. I think our founding forefathers would be absolutely horrified at the mass murder of second grade children.

  • Mike Newton

    We only need ask ourselves these questions. What is the first thing we do when an armed nutcase shows up with a weapon, intent on doing as much harm as possible, whether it is in one’s home, school or wherever? We dial 911 then hope and pray the good guy gets there NOW! Why? Because we know the good guy will be ARMED and end the threat. What is the first thing the nutcase does when the ARMED good guy can finally get there? He turns the weapon on himself because he knows it’s over. He is a coward and only will inflict pain on those unable to fight back.

  • steve

    If guns made us safer, we would be the safest nation on earth. The opposite is true. No one has suggested taking away your gun to defend your daughter. But you do not need an assault weapon to do so. And you need the NRA to stop pressuring lawmakers into creating laws that prevent authorities from taking weapons from people who make terroristic threats. We need background checks and registration.

  • lance huff

    ROXANE well said. GUN CONTROL. Ok. The NRA had nothing to do with thIs horrific crime they support 4million law abidding citizens of this country that are your brothers and sisters one nation under GOD! Any weapon rifle pistol can be used as a assult on any one or any building. Look at this country almost solvent, our goverment cannot or willnot make the right decisions for our economic state! With a country that is almost solvent why do you think they want the assult weapons off the street! It won’t stop there the only thing that gives us freedom is our constitution with out it we are slaves!!! They try and distract the American citizens way from the real PROBLEMS !!!this country is on the verge of becoming solvent research it you will see this is the biggest problem we as a nation should be addressing right this very moment!!!! Wake up CITIZENS

  • Theory_of_I

    There are approximately 133,000 public and private schools in the US. Students are in class about 170 days a year (not counting summer sessions).

    That is better than 22.5 million school days per year in the US.

    There have been 32 shooting incidents in schools since Colombine, or about 2.5 per year. The odds that a given school will have a shooting incident during a school day… .000000111 –> 1 in a million.

    Wayne La Pierre, the NRA’s perennial power tripper, says an armed police officer in every school is the answer.

    The price? A mere $4.4 billion tax dollars or more (133,000 x 1/2 the current US avg. police officer salary), with absolutely no assurance it will prevent a psychopath from shooting school kids.

    All La Pierre has offered is the official NRA mantra – The only solution to the gun problem is MORE GUNS!

  • Lyssa Silver

    The US has big problems, for example the environment and the economy. The middle class has all but disappeared leaving the rich, the working class (just making it from paycheck to paycheck) and the poor. The working class and the poor live in a constant state of anxiety and stress. In many cases hopelessness and helplessness are the overwhelming emotions. People in these states often act on emotions. This is what I think formed the impetus for mass murders in the US, including Columbine and Sandy Hook.

    Compounding the problem is the easy access to firearms in the US. Adam Lanza’s mother owned 4 guns, one of which was an assault rifle. Why in God’s name would any private individual need an assault rifle? Additionally, a human only has 2 hands. Whats the point of 4 guns? The US needs drastic reform to its gun control laws. Unfortunately, and ironically, the US won’t be able to effect significant change to gun control because of the laws the US has enacted to protect its citizens.

    The 2nd ammendment of the US Constitution gives all Americans the right to bear arms. It makes no distinction between handguns, assault rifles, grenades etc. 225 years ago, when it was written, I am sure it served its purpose. People were allowed to protect their property with whatever force was necessary. People owned vast tracts of land. There were no neighbours for miles. This was also a time that witnessed the birthing of the United States, and the start of democracy. Slaves still existed and women had next to no rights. We have changed those laws, yet why do we cling so strongly to the 2nd ammendment?

    The US is screwed, and is destined to suffer more and more of these mass murder tragedies. Only a minorty of the US population are serious about wanting stricter gun control. The majority are the same people who voted for George W Bush twice. Redneck cowboys. Every single person in the world (with the exception of Americans) will tell you that the US needs stricter gun control laws. In every instance, countries that employ stricter gun control guidlelines show significant decreases in deaths by guns. When the lawmakers in the US are going to regulate gun control, the NRA are going to step in and wave the 2nd ammendement. The NRA has very deep pockets, so they will keep the debate about control in the courts for hundreds of years. SHort of a massive coup where one person is able to take over the US and turn it into a dicatorship, there will be no effective gun control legislation any time soon.

  • Bob Wagner


    1. mature gun owners keep their guns secured. They are dangerous.

    2. NRA position”Only armed guards can stop school carnage”.

    3. Dearranged shooters also schoot up theatrs, malls, & etc.

    4 NRA Solution= Have an armed guard at each of these locations.


  • linda

    I live in south floirda where almost everyday or every other day someone dies or is injured by either a random act of gun violence or premeditated.

    Our political leadership need to find a solution to this gun violence because it is getting worse by the minute. All you have to do is listen and watch the daily news children killing one another enroute to school, shootings in the schools, and children just finding shelter from the rain have all fell victim to this terrible evil.

    We need to re-write our weapons legislation so that we can keep our children and our communities safe from this gun violence that is wreaking havoc in our country.

    I understand our rights as Americans to bear arms as protection in the defense of bodily or physical harm but what I dont understand is why must we have assault weapons.

    Weapons that can fire-off hundreds of rounds in a matter of a minute.

    Since the NRA advocacy is very instrumental of the gun rights issue I implore you please rethink your position and lets try to find a solution to OUR problem.

  • Jill Dahlstrom

    I know that history shows us that civilized countries are the ones who allow citizens to have guns. If you look at any uncivilized country it has removed the ability of one to protect oneself. Have any of you thought about what is going to happen to us when the government has spent its last dollar? When we can’t afford to pay for police protection etc.? Who is going to look out for your family when these large cities are a war zone?