ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — As the Minnesota Legislature is bracing for its first hearing this session on the contentious issue of gun control, a state lawmaker says he’s being unfairly criticized over remarks at a recent Capitol rally for gun owners.
Rep. Carl Bahr of East Bethel was among several speakers at Saturday’s rally when he called for the crowd to “start riding herd on the rest of these people that want to take your rights away from you.”
Bahr went on to say: “They need to be kicked to the curb and stomped on and run over a few times.”
Gov. Tim Walz condemned Bahr’s remarks a day later, saying they undermined democracy by encouraging violence.
In a statement Monday, Bahr said his remarks were aimed at two proposed bills that would restrict guns, rather than people. Bahr, a Republican, said he doesn’t condone violence.
The House public safety committee hearing on the gun control measures is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Capitol.
It will hear testimony on bills to require universal criminal background checks for gun purchasers, and to let families and police petition courts to temporarily remove guns from people judged to pose an imminent threat to themselves or others.
The committee chairman, Rep. Carlos Mariani, said he intends to pass both bills Wednesday night but will take them up again Thursday evening if necessary.
The two bills are a top priority for the new House Democratic majority’s agenda. But it’s not clear if they’ll get anywhere in the GOP-controlled Senate, where Republican leaders have expressed opposition.