Report: Hardened criminals unlikely to be affected by new gun restrictions

REUTERS/Tami Chappell

There’s never been much doubt that career criminal type gun offenders would avoid being affected by new gun restrictions. At MPR, Brandt Williams writes: “MPR News examined hundreds of Hennepin County cases charged in adult court last year that involved gun-related crimes. More than a third of the alleged offenders in those cases were already under a firearms ban because of past convictions for serious offenses. The data reveal a complex picture of criminal gun use. The numbers, however, don’t offer any definitive answers for lawmakers on how to deter the violence or stem the use of guns by people who shouldn’t have them.”

It’s unsettling to read a report that says Minnesota hospitals are getting safer  … At KARE-TV, Renee Tessman says: “A new report by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows Minnesota hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers are making gains when it comes to patient safety. It was ten years ago that MDH starting requiring hospitals to report preventable errors. Over the past decade, the report said there has been a decline in deaths and serious injuries. … For example, statewide, adverse health events in patients related to surgeries and invasive procedures went down from 89 in 2011 to 61 in 2013.”

Busted! A St. Cloud Times story says: “The Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force arrested 19 people during a six-month investigation into the possession and sales of methamphetamine in Central Minnesota.The task force bought or seized about 818 grams of methamphetamine with an approximate street value of $50,000, according to a news release, and 19 people could be charged.” Not exactly like bringing down Walter White, but a start.

If this is the new normal, there are going to be some scheduling problems. Kim McGuire of the Strib says: “Some school officials are contemplating scheduling makeup days in June as their school calendars are on the verge of being blown up by a particularly bitter winter. Teachers and parents also have found their best-laid plans badly buffeted. Most Twin Cities metro area schools have canceled classes for three days this month, and Monday’s forecast of 5 below zero makes a four-peat appear possible. And then there’s February. And March.” Now, back in my day …

This will be interesting to watch. Joy Powell of the Strib says: “The Little Falls man accused of killing two teen cousins during a break-in on Thanksgiving Day 2012 is set for trial April 14 in Morrison County, said Steve Meshbesher, his attorney. Smith’s court date was set Thursday … after he pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of Haile Kifer, 18, and Nick Brady, 17. … Meshbesher contends Smith acted out of fear, in part because his home had been broken into a month before, when two guns, money and his Vietnam-era Air Force medals were stolen. He will argue that Smith hid after the shooting.” Will GOP Rep. Tony Cornish have a front-row seat?

Someone has to get a grip on this, pronto. Curtis Gilbert of MPR reports: “A $2 million state grant to the Southwest light rail project came at the expense of downtown development in Maple Plain and athletic facilities at Minneapolis Public Schools, according to documents released this week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The documents show DEED recommended funding the Minneapolis and Maple Plain projects through its 2012 Capital Projects Grant program, but Gov. Mark Dayton axed them to keep light rail planning on track.”

Three members of the Healing Minnesota Stories group say in a Strib commentary: “We were very encouraged to read that Gov. Mark Dayton wants to rethink the paintings in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol (‘Dayton ponders Civil War murals’, Jan. 22). He focused on the number of paintings depicting Civil War battles. We want to build on his questions with a particular eye on Capitol art that portrays early meetings between Native Americans and explorers and settlers. These paintings reflect a problematic mythology around Minnesota’s creation story and they deserve discussion.” No kidding. Who knew the white man was the primary reservoir of wisdom and decency?

Kurt Zellers is raising pretty good cash … . Stribber Rachel Stassen-Berger writes: “Republican candidate for governor Kurt Zellers said he raised $403,000 for his campaign, less than DFL Gov. Mark Dayton but more than most other Republicans running for governor. Zellers, the former speaker of the Minnesota House, is one of a half a dozen Republicans vying for Dayton’s job. So far, among Republicans businessman Scott Honour has raised the most, according to his estimates. He said he raised ‘over $500,000 from individual donors,’ by the end of December, his campaign said.  Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson said he ‘raised over $240,000’ last year and, according to reports, state Sen. Dave Thompson said he raised more than $120,000.”

Goodbye to a truly decent guy. Bob Shaw of the PiPress writes: “If this newspaper could talk, it would be weeping today. Mike Bulger, beloved by his co-workers during his 37 years in the newsroom of the Pioneer Press, died Wednesday. He was 62. … In his career, Bulger worked as a writer, reporter, editor and manager. He had an almost-mythical reputation as someone who could accomplish anything, always with good humor. … Bulger became ill Monday morning and died Wednesday night at United Hospital in St. Paul.” RIP, Mike. I can attest to every kind thing anyone has to say about you.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/24/2014 - 07:23 am.

    Re: criminal gun use

    “The data reveal a complex picture of criminal gun use. The numbers, however, don’t offer any definitive answers for lawmakers on how to deter the violence or stem the use of guns by people who shouldn’t have them.”

    Here’s an idea: A *mandatory* ten-year prison sentence if caught committing a felony with a gun.

    The problem is local prosecutors plea bargain away the gun charges to get a quick conviction on the other charge. Eliminate that practice.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/24/2014 - 08:02 am.

    Treaty of Traverse des Sioux

    I have an ancestor (Chief Red Iron) who signed the 1851 treaty depicted in that painting. I’d gladly take it off their politically-correct hands.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/24/2014 - 09:44 am.

      Is Chief Red Iron

      identified in the painting? As I recall, only the whites were identified by the artist.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/24/2014 - 12:26 pm.

        It doesn’t matter to me

        It would still be interesting to have a painting that depicted a treaty that your ancestor was a part of.

        I had another ancestor who was in possession of the original painting of the Battle of Little Big Horn by Kicking Bear.

        When he died, the local sheriff who found his body, also absconded with the painting and later sold it to an art collector. Bleepin’ white people.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/24/2014 - 09:31 am.

    The reality is

    that most gun deaths are due to accidents and suicides, not professional criminals. That’s why the only effective answer is restricting handgun ownership to those with a -valid- need for personal protection, as opposed to bad-guys-under-the-bed paranoia.

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/24/2014 - 09:43 am.

    Smith’s defense

    may well be aimed at obtaining a plea to a lesser charge or at giving the jury the option of convicting him of a lesser charge.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/24/2014 - 09:48 am.

    A recent tour

    of the Capital reminded me of my visit of City Hall in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, where the the conquering Brits are memorialized in glass and stone while the indigenous people are left to paint political slogans on the city’s walls.

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