The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

December 21, 2012

Walz ‘deeply disappointed’ by NRA stand

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota congressman who gets high marks from the National Rifle Association said he was dismayed with the gun lobby’s proposal Friday to station armed police officers in every school across America, saying it would turn schools into armed camps.

Rep. Tim Walz, a former teacher and National Guard veteran, considers himself a staunch defender of the Second Amendment and gets straight A’s from the NRA for his support on gun-rights issues. But the Democrat from Mankato said he has been rethinking his opposition to a ban on assault-style weapons and believes the country needs an open discussion about gun violence.

He told reporters during a conference call he was “deeply disappointed” by NRA chief lobbyist Wayne LaPierre’s comments at a Washington news conference about last week’s shooting rampage that killed 20 children and six educators at a Connecticut elementary school.

“I reject his pessimistic world view,” said Walz, who taught geography and coached football at Mankato West High School before he was elected to Congress. “I refuse to believe that our schools have to become armed encampments where our children don’t feel safe.”

The NRA plan also drew flak from other Minnesota Democrats and leaders of the state’s main teachers’ union, Education Minnesota.

“No legal organization in America is more responsible than the NRA for lobbying to ensure the proliferation of killer guns while denying law enforcement tools to stop killers,” Rep. Betty McCollum, whose district includes St. Paul, said in a statement. “Wayne LaPierre’s call for guards and guns in every school building and playground is madness and a perverse vision for life in America.”

Among Minnesota Republicans, Rep. Michele Bachman declined an interview. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s spokesman did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The dean of Minnesota’s congressional delegation, Rep. Collin Peterson, who like Walz is an NRA-endorsed rural Democrat, was traveling and not immediately available, his spokeswoman said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Wetland Loss [Duplicate] Report says Prairie Pothole region losing wetlands BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal officials and conservationists say a recent report detailing wetland losses in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region over the past decade highlights the need for increased protection for the region that provides breeding

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, the plane's owner and a French government official said. Air navigation services lost

    July 24, 2014

  • Migrant children face test in Dallas immigration court DALLAS — In a packed Dallas immigration courtroom, Elsy Garcia sits next to her 16-year-old brother, Jose. She last saw him when he was 9, when she fled their home in Usulutan in southern El Salvador. Now Jose is facing deportation. His case is conf

    July 24, 2014

  • Poet takes his act to Las Vegas LAS VEGAS — The old poet is dressed in black, his platinum-blond hair rakishly moussed. He stands amid the hubbub, facing a stern test of his crafted words and carnival-barker delivery. The venue is a smoky lounge called Ichabod’s, east of the Strip.

    July 23, 2014

  • Minnesota race track to refund horse owners ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota race track manager says the track will refund horse owners after an audit found it shorted race purses by nearly $437,000 over four years. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/1p9mtEh ) the Running Aces

    July 23, 2014

  • Bodies of Malaysia jet victims leave Ukraine KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying the first bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash left the embattled plains of eastern Ukraine Wednesday, while British investigators began work on a pair of "black boxes" to retrieve da

    July 23, 2014

  • Attorney general sues 2 Minn. colleges ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against two colleges, accusing the schools of misleading criminal justice students about their ability to land a job in their field and about transferring credits to other instit

    July 22, 2014

  • sniper wife pic Jurors start considering Ventura case ST. PAUL — An attorney for Jesse Ventura asked a federal jury Tuesday to award the former Minnesota governor millions of dollars in damages for what he claimed is a lie in a memoir by the late military sniper Chris Kyle. Ventura testified during the

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Target debuts shopping app "In a Snap" will recognize images

    July 22, 2014

  • Feds to monitor Newark police Probe found pattern of unconstitutional policing

    July 22, 2014