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No Comments, Condemnations After GOP Rep. Daudt Gun Incident Surfaces

Updated: 01/10/2014 10:21 PM
Created: 01/10/2014 7:23 PM KSTP.com
By: Stephen Tellier

The Minnesota House minority leader, handcuffed during an incident involving his gun, while he was trying to buy a vehicle from a man in Montana.

It happened back in September, and 5 Eyewitness News was the first to report on the incident on Thursday night. It is still the only media outlet Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, has spoken to about what happened.

On Friday, we explored the fallout, and what it means for the Republican leader's future. The short answer is likely: Not much.

The House DFL Caucus declined to comment on the incident on Friday. There were no statements of condemnation from anyone in the world of politics. The consensus seems to be that unless something else develops from the situation, it should simply blow over.

Court documents state Daudt was placed under arrest. Daudt himself told Five Eyewitness News he was read his rights and put in handcuffs, but not arrested.

It happened during a trip to Montana with a friend in September, to buy an old Ford Bronco. Daudt said the sale went bad, the seller became aggressive, and his friend went on the defensive -- grabbing Daudt's gun.

"Without my knowledge, or my permission, went back to my vehicle and took out a handgun, and upon feeling further threatened in kind of a defensive manner, he displayed the handgun," Daudt said.

That friend was charged with three felonies. But Daudt was never charged with anything. He said he did nothing wrong, and was trying to defuse the situation, when the cops handcuffed him.

"It is a very unfortunate situation. I have relived it in my head numerous times. But ultimately, I think I go back to their statement, and everything I did, as scary as the situation was at the time, everything I did, I handled myself very appropriately," Daudt said.

"Of course, it raises a bunch of questions," said political analyst and Hamline University professor David Schultz.

Schultz said the biggest is one of timing.

"There's the question of the delay, and people are always going to speculate and say, 'Why did you wait several months?'" Schultz said.

But from a purely political point of view, Schultz said Daudt is safe.

"Given the fact that he is in a pretty soundly Republican district, I doubt it's going to hurt him politically," Schultz said.

Schultz also praised Daudt's handling of the situation so far.

"He's talking about it as a self-defense story. It also more involves a friend of his, not him directly, in terms of what's going on. I don't think it's a toxic story for him at this point," Schultz said.

Schultz said by the time elections roll around in November, the incident should be a minor issue -- if it's an issue at all. He also speculated that the DFL is staying away from the issue because they're afraid to get near any issue that deals with guns -- the theory goes, if you attack Daudt for this, you're inviting the NRA and other interest groups to counterattack.


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