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.”