DFL Gubernatorial Hopefuls Discuss Gun Control During Candidate Forum

February 16, 2018 10:09 PM

Even though the school shootings in Florida happened just two days ago, gun control and the epidemic of school shootings was only briefly talked about at a gubernatorial candidate forum sponsored by the AFL-CIO on Friday.

"Lets take on gun violence and move the NRA out of the middle of that discussion, so we together Minnesotans can enact common sense gun violence prevention measures and protect our kids and families across the state of Minnesota," Rep. Erin Murphy.


RELATED: Florida Shooting Leads to Renewed Emphasis on Gun Violence in Minnesota Political Debate

Murphy, a state representative from St. Paul, appeared at the forum with U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, Rep. Tina Liebling and State Auditor Rebecca Otto.

The candidates were not asked directly about school shootings or gun control, but Walz also brought it up in the context of working across party lines to get things done as governor.

"I'm done with school shootings," an impassioned Walz told the crowd in downtown St. Paul. "I'm done with not finding solutions. I'm done with posturing. I want to bring people together who own guns and know we shouldn't be having them in schools..."

Otto and Liebling didn't bring up gun control, but Otto's campaign is running ads on social media highlighting statements Walz has made regarding gun rights. Walz has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.

RELATED: Mass Shooters Use Loopholes, Lapses in Checks to get Guns

Political analysts on "At Issue" differed on how that might impact his campaign for governor.

"The fact that Tim Walz has had that NRA 'A' rating is actually going to make him a better person to advocate for gun violence prevention measures," says Sarah Walker, a Democratic lobbyist and strategist. "He has said numerous times on the record gun violence prevention is a priority for him."

But Annette Meeks of the Freedom Foundation predicts factions of the Democratic Party will give Walz a hard time on gun control.

"Tim Walz is going to have some (explaining) to do to their delegates," Meeks said. "I think there are a lot of far-left activists that have been re-energized in this campaign and they are not going to like his position on guns at all."

This isn't the first time gun control has put Walz in an awkward position. In October he donated about $18,000 in NRA donations to charity in the aftermath of the Las Vegas mass shooting.


Tom Hauser

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