State House GOP leader had brush with Montana cops

Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, was first elected in 2010. Nikki Tundel/MPR News

The minority leader of the Minnesota House, Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, was stopped by police in Montana last fall and  handcuffed.

Daudt was in Montana with an unidentified friend in early September to purchase a used truck. A disagreement with the seller of the truck resulted in the friend pulling a handgun owned by Daudt, according to a report from KSTP-TV.  A complaint filed in Park County, Montana, said officers later stopped a Minnesota vehicle and placed its occupants under arrest. Daudt told KSTP that only his friend was arrested, and later charged. He did not say why he had not previously disclosed the incident.

Daudt explained his side of the story in a lengthy interview with KSTP, but his spokeswoman said today that he would not be doing anymore interviews on the subject. Instead, Daudt released this statement:

“In early September, I traveled to Montana to purchase an antique vehicle which is something I have done before because I collect and restore antique vehicles for a hobby. Unfortunately, the seller did not accurately represent the condition and mileage of the vehicle. A confrontation ensued between my friend who traveled with me to Montana to assist in bringing the truck back to Minnesota and the seller who had misled us.

“While we worked to resolve the situation, the seller became verbally aggressive with both my friend and me and became physically aggressive with my friend. I did everything I could to calm down the seller, diffuse the situation and get my friend and me out of harm’s way. However, feeling imminently threatened, my friend retrieved a handgun, without my knowledge, from my vehicle. The gun is licensed to and owned by me. The gun was not discharged during the incident.

“Police were called and my friend was detained and charged by local authorities. As a witness, I provided a statement to local authorities who informed me that at no time was I accused by anyone of any wrongdoing, and that according to all accounts I was trying to diffuse the situation.


Documents from Park County Montana identify Daudt’s friend as Daniel Benjamin Weinzetl of Cambridge. He was charged with three felony counts.

  • Mark Olson

    Rep. Daudt: the word you are looking for is “defuse”, not “diffuse”. Although they are near homophones, they do have distinct meanings.

    Although, ‘diffusing the situation’ by separating everyone involved would have almost certainly worked better than brandishing a firearm.

  • RobinMavis_AHGET

    You probably should have made a statement publicly immediately after this happened. Now you just look like you were trying to cover the whole thing up. Also who is your ‘friend’ that you hang out with that just goes around taking your gun? Who was the seller of the vehicle? Did the seller of the vehicle have any history of dealing with the law in relation to say…drug dealing? See all the questions you raise by not being transparent?

  • JQP

    In general terms , he gets the benefit of the doubt from me.
    In the matter of not talking about it, it does seem personally embarrassing but… he acted responsibly – and I can’t imagine it really needs much more coverage.

    I’m a fiscally responsible liberal by most standards. I’m not a fan of loosely stored guns. My specific complaint of this incident is that the weapon should not have been that easily accessible by the “friend”. I would have expected a trigger lock at least – especially transporting a gun across state lines where laws change. Better to be on the smart side.