Considering Candidates Post Las Vegas Massacre: Rule Out Tim Walz

A man who was not even known as a gun collector amassed an arsenal that all experts agree included illegal fully automatic weapons. He carried out an act of carnage, alone and using only those weapons, that exceeded in casualty count almost every military battle fought in recent decades by American troops, and that equaled or surpassed all but a very small number of terrorist attacks.

He shot five hundred people.

He shot these people, killing nearly 60 of them, with guns he was able to get because he lives in America. In America, the Second Amendment has protected gun ownership for so long and so irrationally that, even though the worst killing machines are sort of, kinda, a little, illegal, you can still get them.

Guns are the only toys protected by a Constitutional amendment. Gun ownership is a deadly pasttime that is protected by Congress. Even though the CDC and other government agencies, and the concomitant experts, believe that guns are a major public health risk, Congress has legislated against the distribution of research funds one might use to study this problem. And, generally, Congress has been the lapdog of the National Rifle Association, which is a lobbyist organization representing gun and ammo manufacturers disguised as an interest group supporting guns as toys for men and women, but mostly men, across the country.

Why Tim Walz Is Not Viable as a DFL Gubernatorial Candidate

First, let me say that I would normally argue that it is too early to make strong statements against a fellow DFLer (Democratic Party) who is running for office. But what happened last night in Las Vegas has changed all that, and I have to speak out, and strongly so. I am very unhappy about this situation. Here’s the story.

As I was poking around to find out how various members of Congress and future candidates for re-election had voted on guns, in pursuit of writing about Las Vegas. I was shocked and deeply disturbed to find that Congressman Tim Walz, who currently represents Minnesota’s 1st District and is now running for the Democratic Party’s endorsement for Governor, is one of those questionable members of Congress. I had seen Walz speak at a recent forum. Members of a gun-control group were there and they asked the first questions. They asked about various bills and they asked about silencers, an issue that has come up recently in the Minnesota legislature.

I was utterly confused by Congressman Walz’s response to these questions. At no point did he lay down a position. He seemed to take more than one position at a time. He mentioned he was a veteran and a hunter several times, but he also mentioned that we have to be sensible about guns. But he wasn’t able to articulate a position that I could understand, and I’ve been following and writing about gun issues for years. I left that forum not knowing what his position on guns was, but feeling like I had been somehow conned. In fact, I felt like I needed a shower after that set of answers, and I honestly can’t explain exactly why. I did check my wallet on the way out the door, though.

Anyway, I have now looked into it. Walz is, essentially, a Republican when it comes to guns. He supports conceal carry. He supported a bill that allowed the registration and position of weapons that are normally illegal, by a privileged group. He supported the ban by Congress of the Washington DC law that included sensible trigger lock provisions, disallowed semiautomatic weapons, and provided for stricter registration He opposed legislation what would limit access to guns by people with questionable mental competence. And, I think he said, silencers should be legal, but again, I’m not sure.

Walz was actually a co-sponser of HR420, the Veterans Heritage Firearms act. This basically allowed veterans or people related to veterans (i.e., a LOT of people) to keep and register firearms that would normally be illegal, as long as they had stolen the gun off a dead enemy. Or otherwise acquired it while “overseas.”

The act of Congress disallowing Washington DC to regulate its own guns was HR 1399 was also co-Sponsored by Walz. Congress allowed DC to continued to disallow sawed off shotguns, but not semiautomatic weapons.

The mental competence law that Walz supported was HR2547. This bill “Prohibits, in any case arising out of the administration of laws and benefits by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, considering any person who is mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness from being considered adjudicated as a mental defective for purposes of the right to receive or transport firearms without the order or finding of a judge, magistrate, or other judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such person is a danger to himself or herself or others.”

It seems like Walz is especially concerned with protecting and even expanding beyond normal the gun ownership rights of veterans with mental disabilities, which by definition includes a subset of individuals who really should not be walking around with guns that are not even legal for other people to have.

The other Democratic candidates for Minnesota Governor have very different positions. Walz stands out like a sore thumb among his colleagues. Rebecca Otto wants a science based approach. She noted in a statement following the Las Vegas massacre that Congress has essentially illegalized scientific research on guns and gun safety. Clearly, we have made huge strides in automobile safety, and people generally have the right to drive cars, and far far fewer people are killed because of driving today than would otherwise have been possible without sensible science-based policy. We did not need a Constitutional Amendment protecting driving to make this happen. In fact, the Second Amendment damages our nation’s ability to be sensible about gun laws.

Here is, in part, Otto’s statement:

What we are doing with gun safety laws is not working. We must study gun violence as a public health issue just as we did motor vehicle safety and our work to reduce motor vehicle deaths. We need to steep our policies in evidence, not rhetoric. Let’s collect the evidence and let our scientists study the issue.

The NRA has its place, but not at the expense of so many lives. The NRA and their gun lobby stranglehold on D.C. is a perfect example of the Politics of unfettered greed. Time to end the Politics of Greed & return to the Politics of the common good.

Here’s the thing: Even Walz can be seen as advocating a sensible approach, if you stand in the back of the room, plug one ear, and kinda squint while he is talking about guns. But he has never voted for sensible change, and when he tries to advocate a mainstream progressive policy, his tongue gets stuck on his trigger and thing go badly. He is pushing himself as a progressive left of center who won’t move to the right, but he’s been far right on guns all along.

Sorry, Tim.

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50 thoughts on “Considering Candidates Post Las Vegas Massacre: Rule Out Tim Walz

  1. A USA unencumbered by the insanity of the anachronistic Second Amendment and by a gerrymandering electoral college system, and with a preferential voting system like Australia’s instant-runoff voting, would be the type of country that would actually match the mythology of the nation’s view of itself.

    Instead, the rest of the world regards it with aghast horror as it digs itself ever closer to hell, even in the face of all the advantages with which it has been bestowed.

  2. I’m not from US – but anyways …
    ‘A well regulated militia’
    It seems that then opening statement of the 2nd amendment has no weight. Perhaps a (at least a small) step for better would be to make that an actual requirement for gun ownership. And the stress would be on ‘well regulated’.

  3. The problem is encapsulated in this one statement:

    There have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths since 1968, compared to 1,396,733 cumulative war deaths since the American Revolution.

    Source

    Something needs to change and fast. A first step would be the impeachment and removal of Trump and then the discrediting of all those in Congress who support the NRA and its corrupting influences.

  4. Nice one Greg. Great commentary on the double think that is epitomised by Tim Walz.

    Minnesota, now who do we know who is a lawyer type from that state. I suspect he will be along in a minute.

  5. Snag is Bernard the USA has tried hard to export its ways to the rest of the globe especially in corporate take overs as we see with such public institutions as the UK NHS.

  6. And now Alt-facts seen across prominent media;

    Facebook and Google promoted false news stories claiming that the shooter who killed more than 50 people in Las Vegas was a Democrat who opposed Donald Trump. The misidentification spread rapidly from dark corners of the internet to mainstream platforms just hours after hundreds were injured at a festival near the Mandalay Bay casino, the latest example of fake news polluting social media amid a breaking news story.

    Source

  7. It’s interesting isn’t it that the GOP don’t want us to talk about addressing global warming after an exceptional hurricance, or about gun-control after an exceptional mass killing. And when we do discuss it, they want to stop research on the climate, just like they’ve stopped research on gun safety. It’s almost like they fear the evidence and certainly don’t want it to get anywhere near a congressional debate.

  8. Lionel #5:

    Perhaps you were referring to me?

    I am a lawyer type from Minnesota.

    You all know my position already.

    Some gun control potential laws are constitutional and some are not.

    If you want registration, I think that law (should it pass) would be constitutional.

    If you want to ban guns, I think that law (should it pass) would not be constitutional – unless you amend the constitution.

    If you want to confiscate all AR-15’s, I think that law (should it pass) would not be constitutional – unless you amend the constitution.

    If you want to ban silencers, I think that law (should it pass) would be constitutional.

    If you want to require background checks to close the gun show loophole, I think that law (should it pass) would be constitutional.

  9. PERHAPS it is time to push the narrative, the meme, that the NRA is a terrorist organization. They are pushing gun terror. They are the national gun terror organization. Lax gun laws in areas around the country allow guns to flood into other areas with no legitimate need for more guns. The ultimate goal of NRA strategies is not completely clear, but it results in more money for gun and ammo manufacturers and distributors, and politicians, and an arms race that helps put military guns and ammunition into the hands of children, crazies, clumsy, demented, incompetent, angry, foolish people. The motivation of the perpetrator of the Las Vegas slaughter is currently unknown. One suspects that things like inheritance of a trait for thrill seeking, a lack of empathy for other human beings, and a reptilian pleasure in causing pain might come into play, or maybe a brain tumor.

    We regulate biohazards, chemical hazardous, rad hazards, cars, planes, and buildings to cut down on senseless tragedies. We do this as part of our humanity and maturity, and as part of our constitutional mandate to provide for the general welfare. Reagan in the past, and his partners in crime like Rupert Murdoch have steadily put pressure on these protective parts of the system to encourage it to self destruct, apparently in order to gain some parasitic advantage from the decay of the body politic.

    The NRA is a terrorist organization. Pass it on.

  10. #11 seconded

    #10 The amendment as enacted did not have AR015s in mind. Besides it is disingenuous to restrict the potential for harm to this one weapon type, that is the sort of non-argument a lawyer would make.

  11. We regulate biohazards, chemical hazardous, rad hazards, cars, planes, and buildings to cut down on senseless tragedies.

    Very good point. And it helps explain why the right is against continued study of the medical effects of gun ownership: if you can’t produce evidence that ownership is, in general, more of a threat to health than a plus (or even being a break-even), you have accomplished 95%+ of the work of stopping intelligent legislation.

  12. Right dean, just the sort of thing a terrorist organization would do.

    Even though the vast majority of the people in the USA want to have background checks and other sensible restrictions for all gun sales, the NRA pushes for unrestricted access to weapons of mass destruction, thwarting the will of the American people by appealing to those who are perpetually stuck in an adolescent, pre-civilized mentality. The NRA intimidates and coerces members of the government to influence government policy. They manipulate and influence government policy by encouraging activities that result in mass destruction and assassination. Clearly traits of a terrorist organization. And while technically not pulling the trigger each and every time, the NRA is a mass enabler that allows others to do their dirty work. Viewed from this perspective, the NRA is a terrorist organization. With crazed, chest beating high priest hate monkeys like Ted Nugent in their leadership, it is not hard to see that the NRA is a terrorist cult, desperately trying to drag the nation back to the days of head hunting.

  13. RickA

    As if the fucking Constitution is written in stone. It’s interpreted by the SC to suit the prevailing political bias of the SC. So it doesn’t really mean all that much in absolute terms. You just use this ancient and frankly over-rated piece of parchment to justify your views on gun ownership.

    And the pile of corpses just grew a lot bigger.

  14. BBD #17:

    I am aware the constitution can be changed. That is why I mentioned it in my #10.

    It is very hard to change.

    Until it is changed, or the Supreme Court dramatically changes their interpretation of the Constitution, certain laws proposed by people are a no go.

    It doesn’t matter how many people die by gun fire, until the constitution is changed guns cannot be banned.

    That is just a fact.

  15. BBD #20:

    I don’t know what “it” is referring to in your post.

    Of course it is wrong that all those people were killed and injured in this heinous crime.

  16. And it’s wrong for vested interest and its political enablers on the right to twist the 2ndA to maintain gun industry profitability as the corpses pile up.

    And it’s wrong not to speak out against this vile business and the scum who prop it up.

    Like you.

  17. Let me first state that I do own several guns. However, I use them for hunting or in the case of the my 22 cal rifles for plinking. I have never seen the need to have a large capacity magazine on a weapon for hunting (I’ve fired 25 rounds for my last 23 big game animals).

    Large caliber (223 or larger) semi-auto weapons are not needed by anybody other than police or the military. 99.9% of people who say they need a handgun for protection will probably shoot themselves or an innocent bystander if they try to use it.

    I think the argument has been going on for along time whether or not the average citizen can have a fire arm if they are not part of a well regulated militia. I take the meaning of a well regulated militia to mean controlled by a state or other governmental authority; not a group of people who call themselves a militia.

  18. Rich Bly #23:

    You said “I think the argument has been going on for along time whether or not the average citizen can have a fire arm if they are not part of a well regulated militia. ”

    The argument is over. The Supreme Court decided in Heller and subsequent cases that the average citizen can indeed have a fire arm – even if they are not part of a well regulated militia, or even a group of people who call themselves a militia.

    The Supreme Court decided the 2nd amendment is an individual right, like the right to free speech and freedom of religion, etc.

    So until the constitution is amended, or the Supreme Court reverses its recent decisions (which is very unlikely), the argument is over.

    So for better or worse, in the United States, the average citizen can have a firearm.

    Now, as I said above, some laws could be passed which would be constitutional (not violate the 2nd amendment).

    I suspect the courts would permit a ban on the bump accessory (not sure of the proper name). That is just my opinion, based on my reading of all the cases. I don’t think banning the bump accessory infringes on the right to keep and bear arms.

    This might be true for silencers also – they could probably be banned.

    So some package could be put together which would do something to help.

    But we will never be able to stop a determined person from committing mass murder. That is the price we pay for living in a free society.

  19. But we will never be able to stop a determined person from committing mass murder.

    It’s only a matter of societal will. Of course, if there’s not the will…

    That is the price we pay for living in a free society.

    There are many other nations will greater freedoms, and far fewer firearm deaths per unti population.

    What you mean is that it’s the price of lving in a society where a cadre of vested interests and their political abetters are able to nurture cultural fear in order to maintain their profits and perpetuate a perverted perception of individual rights.

  20. So until the constitution is amended, or the Supreme Court reverses its recent decisions (which is very unlikely), the argument is over.

    No it’s not over. It’s ongoing. Just because a politically biased SC made a bad decision doesn’t mean that the argument is ‘over’. You don’t just wave away bad laws – you fight to get them changed.

    But we will never be able to stop a determined person from committing mass murder. That is the price we pay for living in a free society.

    That’s not the point, you evil little shit. Look at the correlation between gun ownership and mass murder. That’s the point.

    You are a disgrace. You really are.

  21. >Guns are the only toys protected by a Constitutional amendment.

    As you established before that, guns are not ‘toys’. They are protected by a Constitutional amendment, and the only one to be so protected, not cars or other items that people say are regulated or licensed, so this needs to be considered as to why, not just ignored and suggest guns be treated the same.

  22. Silencers do not operate as they appear in the movies and books, and banning them does nothing in terms of mass shootings or other gun issues. They merely prevent regular users from going deaf.

  23. Silencers do not operate as they appear in the movies and books, and banning them does nothing in terms of mass shootings or other gun issues. They merely prevent regular users from going deaf.

    Hearing protectors should be worn on the range and they will stop regular users from going deaf.

    No civilian needs a silencer.

    You people and your bullshit.

  24. A silencer does not silence a gun.

    The only person on about silencers is Walz (as reported by Greg) and you. This is a total red herring and nothing to do with the main gist of any arguments for tighter gun control.

    As for jackhammers, a gun used with silencer makes rather less noise, unless of course you have naval artillery in mind.

  25. A silencer does not silence a gun. It reduces the sound level to that of a jackhammer.

    Depends on the type of sound suppressor, calibre of firearm, type of load, barrel length, muzzle velocity. And who cares when it’s a total irrelevance.

    Worried about your hearing? Wear hearing protectors.

    Worried about mass murderers? Ban paramilitary-type semiautos and high capacity magazines. It’s not rocket science.

    So why not get behind this? Or do you prefer ever-larger piles of corpses?

  26. BBD #26:

    People disagree on what the point is. I don’t think the SC made a bad decision. I think they made the correct decision, given the 2nd amendment. If you want to change the decision, you need to change the language of the 2nd amendment. However, reasonable minds can differ without being considered “an evil little shit”. As soon as you start name calling you have lost the argument.

    The correlation between gun ownership and mass murder is irrelevant in America. It really isn’t the point – because you cannot do anything about the number of guns that are in America or that will be sold in the future. Unless you change the 2nd amendment – which is very very unlikely to occur.

    But you keep fighting the good fight and demonizing those who disagree with you – that will work for sure.

  27. I hear there is a correlation between the number of cars sold and the number of drunk driving incidents. Perhaps we should ban cars.

    I hear there is a correlation between the number of people and the number of drunk driving incidents. Perhaps we should ban people.

    This correlation nonsense is really irrelevant.

    The old saying – guns don’t shoot people, people shoot people is really true.

    The reverse – people don’t shoot people, guns shoot people, really doesn’t work – does it?

    Perhaps a focus on the people and not the tool would be helpful.

  28. People disagree on what the point is. I don’t think the SC made a bad decision. I think they made the correct decision, given the 2nd amendment.

    The families of the 59 murdered people would be unlikely to agree with your insane views, RickA.

    And make no mistake, they are insane. Look at the pile of corpses grow.

    Perhaps a focus on the people and not the tool would be helpful.

    No, you wretched imbecile. Perhaps a focus on the fact that no civilian has any reason to own a paramilitary semiauto rifle with a high capacity magazine would be helpful.

    What the fuck is wrong with you denying this? What the fuck?

    I just don’t know what else to say to you.

  29. BBD:

    Millions of people have a reason to own them or they would not pay money for them.

    Just because you see no reason for them doesn’t make it so.

    It doesn’t matter how many families of gun victims want guns banned – they cannot be banned in the USA.

    Your outrage is not doing anything useful.

    Name calling is not helping your arguments either.

    Millions and millions of semiauto rifles have been sold in America, many of them with high capacity magazines. If there is no reason to own them, why do people buy them? They are not cheap.

    Perhaps reasons exist – but you do not like them or approve of them.

    Why are you so mad at me anyway?

    I didn’t shoot those people.

    Perhaps you should direct your anger at the murderer.

    I am just reporting the state of the law in America and what is possible and what is not possible.

  30. If there is no reason to own them, why do people buy them?

    Still given to swimming in logical fallacy, I see.

    Humans are very prone to “buy[ing]” things that they do not need, and often do not even want. More precisely, they are prone to buying things that they think they need, but do not. And humans are extrememly prone to buying things that they definitely do not need, but simply want for whatever valid or invalid reason that wanting has been initiated.

    There is no rational need for the obscene proportion of gun ownership in the USA. There’s certainly no need for the ownership of military-grade weaponry, and for the possession of multiple numbers of weapons and huge caches ofammunition.

    Unless of course the USA really is at high risk of imminent societal collapse or of despotic government subjugation, in which case one has to wonder why people think they live in such a wonderful country to start with. Look at the second graph of greg’s post More guns equals more gun deaths. The nation with the second-highest proportion of gun ownership after the US is Switzerland, which has compulsory national service, and which still has half the ownership rate of the States. What is is about the ‘best country in the world’ that necessitates that it be so heavily armed, and armed at such a high per capita lethal cost to its innocent citizens?

  31. I didn’t shoot those people.

    Non sequitur.

    And you do provide tacit support for the status quo, so your innocence in the greater issue is debatable, if not completely absent.

    Perhaps you should direct your anger at the murderer.

    The underlying issue is not the existence of the murderer, but the degree to which his murderous inclinations were aided and abeted by a system that allows and actively promotes unecessary and extremely excessive access to weaponry capable of mass killing.

    A proportion of people will always be moved to kill. We can’t easily change that. We can however ensure that those who are so motivated are not facilitated in their endeavours by ridiculously slack laws that maximise their ability to cause harm to others.

    I am just reporting the state of the law in America and what is possible and what is not possible.

    You can tell yourself that RickA, if it salves your conscience, but others see your comments for what they are. And your comments are a faciliation of the maintenance of a system that should never have been allowed to develop to the point that is exists today – a bloated vested-interest behemeoth that influences government for its own ends, and that has inculcated in the nation a culture of fear and entitlement that the creators of the US constituition would never have envisioned or wanted to have occurred.

  32. RickA

    Millions of people have a reason to own them or they would not pay money for them.

    You’ve confused ‘want’ with NEED.

    Why are you so mad at me anyway?

    Because you are claiming that people should be allowed to have weapons that are enablers for mass murder when no civilian NEEDS such weapons and you don’t even understand the difference between desire and requirement.

    And people are dying while the firearms industry makes handsome profits selling these expensive paramilitary weapons to civilians.

    I assure you that you deserve every erg of contempt you get.

    So the rest of what you say is wrong.

  33. Guns do more harm than good today. The second amendment is not sacred. It can be amended or superseded. Better gun management, i.e., gun control is needed.

  34. The ability to have nearly unlimited access to firearmst is very appealing to those who like to kill, hurt , and destroy. It is an appealing option for those permanently stuck in adolescent hero fantasies. It is appealing to those who like to bully and abuse. It is appealing to those who like to let raw emotion overrule logic and statistics. It is appealing to those who love guns and the power that it gives them more than they love humans or nature or beauty. It is appealing to those who like to think that they could fair better in a primitive environment than in a modern one. It is appealing to those who are afraid that the world is far more dangerous and threatening to them than it actually is. It is appealing to those who live in constant fear of being hurt or humiliated by others. Unlimited access to guns and ammo is highly appealing to those who profit from their sale and manufacture. And finally, unlimited access to weaponry is highly appealing to those who can think of no more imaginative or sophisticated way to protect themselves than to surround themselves with devices that throw off pieces of heavy metal at lethal speeds.

  35. ” It is appealing to those who are afraid that the world is far more dangerous and threatening to them than it actually is”

    Yes, this is at the heart of all of the pushing of the myth that evil boogiemen (non of them white, of course) are lurking around the corners in every city waiting to attack you, and the only defense is an honorable (always white, usually male or older women) person willing to stand up to them with a private gun.

    The facts that such attacks are almost non-existent, and the “good person with a gun stops an attack” is as rare, don’t matter.

  36. Of course the 2nd amendment can be amended or revoked.

    I consider this very unlikely – but it is possible.

    What is more likely is that laws will be introduced and passed, some of which will be upheld by the courts and some of which will be struck down by the courts.

    Banning the bump stock will probably pass and if signed by President Trump, would probably be upheld by the courts. Stopping the public from converting a semi-automatic to the equivalent of an automatic doesn’t really infringe on the 2nd amendment, because you can still keep and bears “arms” (i.e. the original semi-automatic without the accessory).

    Trying to ban semi-automatics will doom the law (even if it could be passed and signed into law) to being struck down in the courts (in my opinion).

    If it was me, I would do a series of targeted bills, one for each item, so the whole package didn’t go down over an over-reach. Senator Feinstein did the right thing with her bump stock ban bill – it is targeted and stand-alone. I expect it to pass both houses and be signed into law.

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