Column: NRA can't keep me quiet anymore

Column: NRA can't keep me quiet anymore

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum


Minneapolis, MN

#1 Jan 5, 2013
Column: NRA can't keep me quiet anymore

Ed Tinsley3:48p.m. EST December 31, 2012

While in politics, I allowed myself to be bullied by the NRA. No more.

I am a lifelong hunter, a veteran of the United States Army, and a former elected official here in my home state of Montana. But above all I consider myself a parent, and so I will be forever haunted by the slaughter of those 20 innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The day after the massacre, I took my own son on his first goose-hunting trip. I hoped it would be a special experience for him, though I couldn't stop thinking about the previous day's events and all of the mothers and fathers in Newtown, Conn., whose sons and daughters were so heinously murdered. They were utterly helpless against a madman and his assault rifle.

Though I live more than 2,000 miles away from Newtown, I cannot help but feel like there is something I could have done to prevent this calamity. During my tenure in politics, I allowed myself to be bullied by those in the National Rifle Association and other extremist gun-rights organizations. I feared that if I didn't follow their dictates I would expose myself to ridicule and, worse yet, to their wrath in my next election.

I am regretful about my acquiescence now more than ever. But I will not bow down to their pressure tactics again.

I am a proud gun owner and, as such, I call on our nation to stand up and demand that our leaders tackle gun violence in this country. Specifically, the president and Congress must take up the question of whether assault weapons and high-capacity magazines have a place on our streets and in our homes.

This conversation will no doubt raise the hackles of those who disavow even the most minor regulations on their guns or ammunition. They'll say the government is infringing on their rights yet again.

Let them tell that to the grieving parents in Newtown who just buried their children.

The government regulates the amount of shells I can have in my shotgun when hunting waterfowl. It regulates the number of beers I can have at a local microbrewery. It determines whether or not I can talk on my cell phone while operating a 4,000-pound vehicle on public streets.


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