Conservatives push for campus guns

You don’t even have to ask which side of the ideological spectrum thinks this is a good idea. Paul Walsh’s Strib story says: “A four-day campaign to allow some students, faculty, staff and visitors to carry firearms at the University of Minnesota kicked off Monday with organizers hoping to attract attention to the issue. … Minnesota College Republicans, Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow, Young Americans for Liberty and the Minnesota Republic newspaper are advocating allowing people 21 and over who are legally permitted to carry weapons to do so on campus.” How about trailering a howitzer?

Elsewhere in guns … . The Strib’s Nicole Norfleet writes: “An 84-year-old man, who a relative said has threatened to hurt family before, shot and killed his 36-year-old son on Monday at their Maplewood home. After a two-hour standoff with police, Pang Vang was taken around 2 p.m. from the residence in the 1800 block of County Road B East and transported to Regions Hospital in critical condition with self-inflicted stab wounds to the neck and chest. His son Chue Vang was declared dead at the scene, shot with a long gun … .”

Local Oscar nominee’s legal problems. The Strib’s Mark Brunswick reports Captain Phillips phenom Barkhad Abdi faces “a possible hearing this week with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” based on an August 2012 Iowa drug arrest and suspicion of credit card fraud in North Dakota and Minnesota. The story, which cites one anonymous source, doesn’t detail the outcome of those arrests, which don’t necessarily equal criminal convictions, though the Strib calls them “criminal offenses.” Abdi “could not be reached for comment” and regional immigration official didn’t return comment requests … by name, anyway.

Interesting piece from MPR’s Brett Neely on data-mining masked as a petition drive. “Sen. Al Franken’s campaign sends out a lot of emails this time of year, but a lot of them don’t ask for money. For now, it’s your data he wants. … You might sign the petition expecting lawmakers to read it, but that’s not likely the case. It’s meant instead to glean information to help fundraisers find you later — part of the latest way campaigns are learning more about potential supporters and donors.”   

Meanwhile, others are more interested in “solar gardens.” Bob Shaw of the PiPress writes: “A large-scale solar field – maybe the first in the Twin Cities area – could be selling solar power to Washington County residents as soon as next summer. According to the developer, the 1-acre field would give people their first opportunity to buy solar power without buying solar panels. The solar garden of 4,000 panels would generate a maximum flow of 1 megawatt of electricity, enough to power 140 typical homes.”

Well, it was one of the few places they actually won a game … . Ben Goessling of ESPN reports: “ … the [NFL] is talking about going from three London games in 2014 to four in 2015. Could the Vikings make a return to the United Kingdom in 2015? We wouldn’t bet against it. By then, the Vikings will be in their second season at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, and whatever adjustment period comes along with moving into a college stadium for two seasons will presumably be over.” Is the NFL squeezing the Brits for multi-million dollar hand-outs?

Vaporizing vaping. The AP says: “A plan to classify electronic cigarettes in the same fashion as the conventional kind survived its toughest committee test Monday and now awaits a Senate floor vote. The bill cleared the Senate Commerce Committee after an attempt to weaken the proposed regulations failed on a 7-6 vote. It would add so-called vaping to state indoor air laws that bar tobacco use in public places and most businesses.”

So … he did NOT vote for tax cuts, you say? Tim Pugmire of MPR reports: “When the Minnesota Senate passed a major tax bill last Friday, a Republican candidate for governor was not in the chamber. Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, did not cast a vote on the bill that provided $443 million in tax reductions through several federal conformity measures and the repeal of three business sales taxes. The Senate passed the bill 58-5. Thompson explained today he had a previous commitment Friday … .” Tell me it wasn’t an anti-tax rally.

Some news on this year’s Fringe festival … . The PiPress says: “Minnesota Fringe Festival announced its 2014 venue lineup Monday afternoon. Twenty venues in Uptown, Downtown and the West Bank will host 170 productions of theater, dance and more over the course of the 11-day festival. … Uptown: Bryant-Lake Bowl, HUGE Improv Theater, Intermedia Arts and Minneapolis Theatre Garage. Downtown: Illusion Theater, Music Box Theatre and New Century Theater. West Bank: Mixed Blood Theatre, Southern Theater, the Playwrights’ Center, Theatre in the Round Players and four stages at the University of Minnesota Rarig Center.”

How about a standardized competency test to weed out the nitwits? Eric Roper of the Strib says: “Minneapolis election officials are recommending that city rules be changed to speed vote counting, eliminate frivolous candidacies and give tabulators more privacy. A detailed report provided to the City Council’s elections committee, which meets Tuesday, also shows that 2013 city elections cost $1.7 million. That’s just over what city clerk Casey Carl originally requested, but much more than the $1.3 million the council approved.”

There’s some flex in the MNsure deadline. Says Jackie Crosby in the Strib: “Aiming to give Minnesotans every possible chance to buy health insurance before the March 31 deadline, MNsure officials on Monday said they will grant some flexibility to those making a good-faith effort to buy coverage when the clock strikes midnight that night. MNsure interim CEO Scott Leitz stressed the state insurance exchange isn’t softening the deadline. He compared the newly announced steps to allowing people to vote if they’re standing in line when the polls close.”

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Comments (26)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 03/25/2014 - 08:37 am.

    Let me guess the previous commitment Dave

    by asking “how much $$ did it put in your pocket? Thompson might be one of the biggest political frauds this state has seen in the last few decades.

  2. Submitted by Shelley Leeson on 03/25/2014 - 08:37 am.

    Childish and immature

    We can expect nothing more from contributors to this biased web page, supported financially by extremist gun control groups, than the childish and immature straw man argument of “howitzers” in response to students asking for their human right to effective crime deterrence and self defense to be recognized. Doesn’t even deserve a response other than to further document the bias and extremism presented on this website.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/25/2014 - 09:04 am.


      Define ‘Extremist Gun Control Groups,’ please.

      • Submitted by Shelley Leeson on 03/25/2014 - 09:10 am.

        Define extremist gun control groups

        The Joyce Foundation.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/25/2014 - 10:25 am.


        Anyone who thinks the unfettered deployment of lethal weapons is not necessarily a good thing.

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/25/2014 - 11:02 am.

          It’s not unfettered

          Only people with a license to carry will be allowed to carry. You know, just like in the rest of society. Why should an area be exempt from the law just because the people there attend classes instead of attending to other aspects of normal life? Don’t they deserve to have their lives protected against harm also?

          What college-aged women are learning is that when seconds count, the campus police are only minutes away.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/25/2014 - 09:59 am.

      Relax, man !! He was joking.

      Much humor is indeed “Childish and immature”. And few are capable of such outlandish immaturity and childishness (in a grown man, yet !!) than the author of this column. If he ever grows up, we’ll stop reading.

      One thing about humor, though, and you might consider this: it ain’t funny if there is no truth in it.

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 03/25/2014 - 10:40 am.

      If I have a “human right to effective crime deterrence

      and self defense,” Ms Leeson, then why would you deny me the right to trailer a howitzer? I don’t feel adequately protected with a mere handheld weapon.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/25/2014 - 10:48 am.

      Are these extremists, too ?

      Your description of the Joyce Foundation as “extremist” raised alarms, so I thought I’d better look into this “extreme” outfit and find out what kind of wild-eyed fanaticism they are currently raging at.

      Their site (thanks for the link) states as part of their activities in pursuit of their mission:

      “The Joyce Foundation’s grant making supports research into Great Lakes protection and restoration, energy efficiency, teacher quality and early reading, workforce development, gun violence prevention, diverse art for diverse audiences, and a strong, thriving democracy.”

      Hmmm. Can’t find anything that sounds crazy here, although that business about teacher quality and early reading certainly sounds suspicious.

      So I looked at their recent news items, figuring your “extremist” allegation would surely be shown in glaring relief there. I found an op-ed by a Wisconsin Sheriff who wrote about why he felt private gun sales should be subject to background checks, not just retail sales. He stated that this is “essential to public safety”. He is a licensed gun dealer, too. (

      Another news item they featured was a Johns Hopkins study of the effect of relaxed background checks in Missouri, which they found led to a 23% increase in gun homicides.

      Are the Johns Hopkins group and this Wisconsin Sheriff also extremists – you know, like the Joyce Foundation ??

      So I figured I’d better ask you here: exactly what IS an “extremist gun control group” anyway ? How does it differ from, say, an ordinary gun control group (i.e., not “extremist”).

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/25/2014 - 11:38 am.

        The extremism

        Evidently you missed this part: “gun violence prevention.” Preventing gun violence is, for this crowd, an “extremist” position. Promoting gun violence, on the other hand, is just defending our rights.

    • Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 03/25/2014 - 01:43 pm.


      True extremism is advocating carrying lethal, loaded weapons that those who carry them can use on the rest of us at the slightest provocation. Effective crime deterrence should focus on disarming people so that disputes and differences do not escalate into murder and assault. The concept of self defense should never start with unholstering a loaded gun but too frequently, that is exactly what happens.

  3. Submitted by Jeff Michaels on 03/25/2014 - 08:55 am.

    Turning college kids into Republicans

    Brian might want to give his snide “ideological spectrum” comment a bit more thought. When one of those U of M street bullies sticks a gun in the face of an innocent college kid and steals whatever, I am certain that young person is going to start taking a close look at the ideology of those who favor the right of people to protect themselves.

    It is not a bad idea Brian. You should give it a try.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/25/2014 - 09:16 am.

      Brian didn’t say that people don’t have a right to protect themselves. He was mocking the idea of actively arming 50,000 students in downtown MPLS.

      Or, was the suggestion that he should try and get robbed at gunpoint?

  4. Submitted by Terry Hayes on 03/25/2014 - 09:15 am.

    He’d probably steal the kid’s gun.

    That’s my guess.

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/25/2014 - 09:17 am.

    The Ukrainian candidate

    So it’s better to be killed than to lose your wallet.
    Unless you walk around with a gun in your hand and point it at everyone you see (which means you’re inevitably going to shoot some other ‘innocent’ who’s doing the same thing), having a gun in your pocket won’t do much good when someone has one in his hand and points it at you.
    It’s better to have fewer guns on the street, like in civilized countries.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/25/2014 - 10:35 am.

      Those Who Believe Having a Gun Would Save Them

      Are, quite simply, deluding themselves. Even experts (the REAL ones), don’t believe that possessing a gun would be useful in a mugging,…

      but they make VERY handy, and VERY profitable dupes for the gun and ammunition-manufacturers, and keep the coffers of the NRA (talk about extremist organizations!) filled to overflowing.

      Most of these people would not take the approach to their prescription drugs that, if a little is good, a LOT woul most certainly be better. I can’t imagine why they take that approach when it comes to the presence of guns in our homes, schools and public spaces.

      The trouble is, that for many of them, when the only tool they have to deal with the issues in their lives is a gun,…

      which for some of these folks is a stand in for whatever has gone missing from their personalities because of the ways they were raised and the traumas they may have suffered,…

      everything and everyone else looks like a target, especially when they feel stressed.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/25/2014 - 10:52 am.

      Or . . .

      It’s better to kill than to lose your wallet.

  6. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/25/2014 - 11:08 am.


    If the Left was the side that was in favor of self-defense, they’d make carrying a weapon mandatory. You hoplophobes have a choice to be unarmed if you so desire. Isn’t choice wonderful?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/25/2014 - 03:59 pm.


      Please tell me how I can choose not to be shot by some idiot hoplophile who thinks I’m playing the music in my car too loudly, or who just wants to prove he’s a Real Man.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/26/2014 - 08:12 am.

      I actually taught self defense

      for many years and have a carry permit which I rarely use. Your knowledge of street crime and how it happens is completely ignorant, but shared by too many newbie, middle age gun owners that have purchased in the last few years. They think that the new Glock in their belt is a panacea, when in reality, its just another piece of property to be taken off them as they lie bleeding, dazed or unconscious in the street… and if they’re really lucky they won’t be shot with it. Street crime doesn’t happen from a’s up close, personal and 9 times out of 10, you never see it coming. You’ve mentioned the “knock out” game a couple of times here…do you think that any of those people, few as they were, would have benefited from having a weapon? of course not…they were jacked and unconscious before the even knew what happened. Most victims will never even have a chance to reach for their weapon, much less pull it, aim it and fire effectively. The most effective deterrent to being a victim of street crime is situational awareness….a concept that is too easily ignored by people who think that a gun on their hip is going to turn them into Charles Bronson. So, in the future, spare us the hoplophobe nonsense…it’s a tired, stereotype with no basis in reality that serves no purpose other than helping you validate your limited world view. I’ll put my target groupings against anyone, anytime, but I’m not stupid enough to think that it means anything on the street.

  7. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 03/25/2014 - 04:23 pm.

    Guns are to Self-Defense Viagra is to Sex. A tool for those with certain inadequacies that allows them to feel like the rest of society. But we actually feel compassion for the Viagra users because thier inadequacy isn’t self-inflicted. Real Men realize they don’t need guns.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/25/2014 - 06:55 pm.

      What about women?

      I’m guessing you’re in favor of the smaller, weaker potential victims being unarmed. Sure makes it more convenient, doesn’t it?

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/26/2014 - 10:46 am.

        Wonderful logic Dennis

        My three year old is even WEAKER than all those frail, defenseless, damsels in distress you seem to think abound. I guess I better get him packing pronto before those roving gangs of street thugs, armed with invisibility it seems, descend to annihilate him. I’d ask what you think, but I fear the answer.

        • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/26/2014 - 03:02 pm.

          When he’s 21

          he’ll be eligible. Just as the 21 year-old college students are. Until then, you’re supposed to protect him.

  8. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 03/25/2014 - 09:24 pm.

    We shouldn’t allow guns on college campuses, unless…

    …unless we first make it illegal to conceal them.

    Next to the “Stand Your Ground” law, the worst law recently proposed by the NRA and its minions is without a doubt the “Conceal Carry” law. In fact, without the Conceal Carry law, we would probably never have become paranoid enough to imagine that the Stand Your Ground law is a good idea.

    Concealed firearms ought by reason to be banned everywhere, at all times and in all places, with exceptions made only for law-enforcement personnel, and only when stealth is absolutely warranted. You can’t deter criminals with a weapon they can’t see. I can’t be on my guard against weapons that I can’t see. And if you feel nervous about carrying a firearm in plain view, then you shouldn’t be carrying a firearm at all.

    Finally, I would require all citizens to pass tests of technical skill and mental stability before giving them licenses to wield firearms. The more powerful the firearm, the more stringent the requirements we should impose upon the license.

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