MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota congressman who's a former teacher and gets straight A's from the National Rifle Association says he's "deeply disappointed" with the NRA's proposal for posting armed police officers at every school.
Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat from southern Minnesota, tells reporters he rejects the "pessimistic world view" that NRA lobbyist Wayne Pierre expressed at a Washington news conference Friday, reacting to last week's shootings at a Connecticut school that left 26 children and staff dead.
Pierre also told reporters that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a "good guy with a gun."
Walz taught geography and coached football at Mankato West High School before he was elected to Congress. He says he refuses to believe that schools need to become "armed encampments."
Walz also noted that LaPierre took no questions at his news conference. He says that's "a very odd way to start a national conversation."
Reactions elsewhere on Minnesota's political landscape were even stronger. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman released a written statement blasting Wayne LaPierre and the NRA message disseminated Friday morning.
"On the day when we're still burying children killed in Newtown, CT, the NRA has the audacity to say the answer is more guns and more violence that exposes our children to unprecedented dangers," Coleman said. "As a mayor, as a father, and as a citizen, I'm appalled by this reckless disregard for the safety of our children. We must have a real conversation about how to protect our children and all members of our community."
Coleman says that conversation needs to include:
- prohibiting the manufacture and sale of the military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips
- federal legislation that addresses the broken background check system
- a legislative package that makes gun trafficking a felony
- directing the Justice Department to crack down on rogue gun dealers
- outlawing cop-killer bullets and similar ammunition
"None of these solutions were offered by the NRA today which means they've proven they have no interest in being part of this conversation that stops crimes like this from happening again," Mayor Coleman wrote. "Our hearts continue to go out to the families affected by his heinous crime. As I gather with my family this holiday, they will all be in our hearts and prayers."
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