The Minnesota House will not vote on expanding gun background checks to private sales or on any other gun legislation this year, House Speaker Paul Thissen said Wednesday.Or, more to the point, outstate DFLers value their seats more than they value helping out colleagues like this guy:
Coping with a deeply divided DFL caucus, Thissen told the Star Tribune that despite months of work, legislators and advocates remain too polarized to allow any compromise.
“Neither side has been willing to come to an agreement,” said Thissen, a Minneapolis DFLer. “Because of the intensity on both sides of the issue, even some common-sense solutions can’t be agreed upon right now.”
“I’m very disappointed, very angry,” said Rep. Michael Paymar, the committee chairman who shepherded the gun measures through tough, emotional hearings. The St. Paul DFLer said Thissen had pledged to him that “he wanted to do something about gun violence. He committed to me we would have a vote, we would have a debate on the floor.”But he respects you in the morning, Rep. Paymar. That's something. And of course the Senate won't go there, either:
Senate leaders have said repeatedly that they would wait to see what the House did before taking their own floor vote. On Wednesday night, Sen. Ron Latz, a St. Louis Park DFLer and main sponsor of the Senate gun bill, still harbored hope that a public outcry could force a House reversal.It's easy for Latz to say that, since as a Metrocrat he's essentially free of political danger. That's not the case in other parts of the state:
“I’m extremely disappointed that the House appears to be opting out of what is clearly a major public safety and public health issue in our state,” Latz said. “I think that inaction ... is more politically dangerous than making common-sense steps forward.”
“There’s more than 68 votes to kill the bill, any bill, any amendment that would reduce the Second Amendment rights or cloud them,” Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, said shortly before Thissen decided to shelve the issue. Dill was part of a bipartisan coalition opposed to expanded checks. Sixty-eight “no” votes is the minimum needed to block a bill in the House.
Crane Lake, if you didn't know, is way up north, between Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters. Dill has represented the area for over a decade and doesn't see any reason to anger his constituents. That's why he's still there.