Gun-toting lawmaker Tom Hackbarth loses House chairmanship, for now

State Rep. Tom Hackbarth, who was carrying a gun and acting suspicious in the Planned Parenthood parking lot in St. Paul, has lost his leadership post, at least temporarily, because of the incident.

The Republican from Cedar, in Anoka County, said he was just checking out a new online girlfriend when police stopped him and briefly confiscated the gun, a loaded Smith and Wesson. He has a legal permit to carry the gun and has since picked it up at the police station, where he was interviewed by the media.

With the Republican take-over of the Legislature, Hackbarth had been named chairman of the House Enironment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee. But now House leaders have suspended Hackbarth from his chairman post until the matter is resolved.

New House Speaker Kurt Zellers said in statement:

Due to an incident on Tuesday, November 16, State Representative Tom Hackbarth has been suspended from any current and pending leadership roles within the House GOP Caucus. The suspension will remain in effect until the issue is fully resolved.

Hackbarth apparently didn’t see that coming. He told the Pioneer Press Tuesday that the incident shouldn’t reflect poorly on his leadership abilities:

“I understand why the police and the security guard thought what they might have thought, but it really was insignificant to me.”

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 11/24/2010 - 06:51 pm.

    This guy is a piece of work: He claims that he was there “checking up” on his girlfriend. (A woman he’d met twice for coffee.) She’d told him she couldn’t go out with him that night, so he was looking for her to see if she’d told him the truth, he thought she was with a man. Is that checking up or is that stalking? What was he going to do with the gun? To top it off he’s married with kids AND he’s a leader in the party!

  2. Submitted by David Greene on 11/24/2010 - 07:05 pm.

    This is stalking pure and simple. I hope the woman he met online gets a restraining order. The guy’s just creepy.

  3. Submitted by William Pappas on 11/26/2010 - 12:48 am.

    The radical conservative, Hackbarth, in a Planned Parenthood parking lot wiht a loaded Smith and Wesson at night? That is more than creepy. Expect a lot more of these off the wall actions as some of that right wing rhetoric gains traction.

  4. Submitted by jim hughes on 11/26/2010 - 01:55 pm.

    Republican voters, meet your new leaders. Maybe you thought you were voting for nice, sane, reasonable guys like Dave Durenburger. Things have changed and it’s time to start paying more attention.

  5. Submitted by andy on 11/26/2010 - 05:05 pm.

    “I understand why the police and the security guard thought what they might have thought, but it really was insignificant to me.”

    The police have gunned down people for less- sometimes even by accident or by mistake. This clown shouldn’t be allowed to pick out his own clothes, much less be in a position or authority or packing heat.

    The big question is who will The Party pick to replace him? It’s not like the MN GOP bench is especially deep…

  6. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/27/2010 - 09:18 am.

    The recurring theme of the comments on this Hackbarth dust-up is, “what was he doing carrying a gun?”

    As a carry permit holder, who has passed an investigation by the sheriff in his county, Hackbarth gets to decide when and where to carry a gun. It is a freedom, a constitutionally guaranteed personal liberty. I know you would like to decide for him, but you get to decide for yourself and yourself alone.

    The St. Paul Police seemed to agree that he was within his right to be carrying a gun, or they would not have returned it to him.

  7. Submitted by andy on 11/27/2010 - 12:36 pm.

    “The recurring theme of the comments on this Hackbarth dust-up is, “what was he doing carrying a gun?”

    Well, nobody can know for sure what anybody else is really thinking- but I suspect a lot of us are thinking about overcompensation.

    I know I may seem a little old~fashioned here, but showing up for a date freshly showered and shaved, in neat clothes, flowers in hand, will impress the ladies a lot more than packing a .38

    Girls are weird that way.

  8. Submitted by Steve Rose on 11/27/2010 - 03:44 pm.

    Andy (#7):

    You are clearly reading or inventing a different story than the MinnPost coverage. I don’t find the details regarding Hackbarth’s apparel or shave status. I didn’t understand that this was a date, as you describe, or that his interest was in a girl. Was he carrying a .38, or was that more creative writing?

  9. Submitted by Ray Schmitz on 11/29/2010 - 11:28 am.

    the point is that there is a law about stalking and this seems to fit, so why no investigation by the PD, if nothing else it should be disorderly conduct if the standards of the felony stalking statute are not present. The specific problem may be the actually caused fear section, but until she is contacted there is no way of knowing is there, and the story has no info that she was.

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