Dayton unloads on guns, more

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton leveled some sharp criticism today against the National Rifle Association and its opposition to universal background checks on gun purchases.

Dayton said it would be “very disappointing” if a bill requiring background checks failed this session. He also took issue with NRA claims that such measures would infringe on Second Amendment rights and could lead to gun confiscations. Dayton told reporters that no one is going to confiscate the guns of law abiding citizens.

“It’s just a total bogus, hyped up way of trying to keep their membership up,” Dayton said. “It’s so beyond the pale of anything anybody is considering or proposing. We don’t need the NRA to be posturing around to ‘protect those rights,’ because they don’t need to be protected. They’re sanctified in the constitution and every politician I know who’s elected to office — Republican, Democrat and the like — understand that that’s a right, and no one is going to take it away.”

Dayton made his comments at the same time a House committee was holding a hearing on the background check bill. During that hearing, an NRA official said the proposal is “wrong,” and his organization will continue to fight it.

The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance is telling its members to show up at Dayton’s scheduled town hall budget meeting in Duluth Wednesday evening to urge him to oppose the universal background check legislation.

Speaking of the budget, Dayton also leveled some criticism at his Republicans critics, whom he claims are distorting his tax proposal. The governor stressed that his proposal would raise income taxes only on the wealthiest 2 percent of Minnesotans, but Republicans won’t tell the truth about what his policy really is.

“They know that if they presented the facts to people, the people would support my position,” he said.

On the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, Dayton also reflected on his vote against the war as a U.S. Senator. He said the vote looks proper to him in hindsight.

A few months before the start of the war, Dayton joined Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) and others in voting against the resolution to authorize military action against Iraq. He said he thinks many of his former Senate colleagues now regret voting in favor of the resolution. Dayton said misinformation from the Bush administration made it a difficult vote, but he has no regrets.

“The only way out of a bad war, which we’re still trying to get out of in Afghanistan officially and Iraq unofficially, is not to start it. And to start a war under false pretext, as the Iraq war began, is really disgraceful.”