Publicity-hungry Representative Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder) is withdrawing two controversial bills he didn't yet introduce, and will fight for NRA lobbyists' talking points instead in the coming gun legislation hearings in the Minnesota House Public Safety Committee.
This pivot should come as quite the surprise to committee chair Michael Paymar(DFL-St.Paul). St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Megan Boldt posed in Gun hearings planned for next week in Minnesota House on the newspaper's Political Animal blog:
Paymar also said they will hear a bill by Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, that would allow teachers and other school staff members who have conceal-and-carry permits to arm themselves in the classroom.
No votes will be taken on the bills next week. Paymar wants to put together a larger gun violence prevention bill that includes the proposals that garner the most support.
Here's a January 29, 2013 clip from KSTP 5 where Cornish's pistol-packing pedagogue proposal is discussed, along with Paymar's bills (which are in the hopper, not just the chair's imagination):
We're not sure what happened to Cornish's bills, since we've never had a chance to read them. Nor, so far as we can tell, has any other member of the public.
Cornish's phantom bills ditched in favor of NRA lobbyist talking points
In a January 17 post, "Anti-venom": Cornish bills for college carry & packing pedagogues to get committee hearing, Bluestem linked to political reporting by Mankato Free Press staff writer Maqrk Fischenich, Talk of tightening gun laws results in rush to buy guns:
For all the demand by gun enthusiasts, public opinion polls show that most Americans support more restrictions on gun sales -- particularly the military-style weapons and the high-capacity clips. Cornish said he holds a "more guns, less crime" philosophy and believes gun control proposals would be counterproductive.
So he will be pushing forward with legislation to allow teachers -- and probably other staff -- to carry concealed weapons even if a school's principal or other school administrators don't approve. Teachers, presuming they meet all other state requirements for carrying a weapon, would only need to inform school administrators. Current law requires permission from the administrators before a teacher can bring a weapon to school. . . .
Cornish will also be making another attempt to require public colleges to allow students to carry handguns on campus if they have the applicable permits. He said Public Safety Committee Chairman Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, promised him a hearing on both bills later this month.
Cornish doesn't expect either bill to pass the DFL-controlled Legislature (nor does he expect stricter gun-control legislation to be approved), but pushing the legislation will give him time to present his case for a more-guns approach to reducing gun violence. And he wants an opposing voice to be heard when Paymar presents his gun-control proposals.
"What I hope to accomplish is anti-venom for these bills Michael Paymar is going to bring up," Cornish said.
House Public Safety Chair Michael Paymar has introduced the gun control bills, but Cornish has told an entirely new narrative about his own bills to Mankato Free Press staff writer Tim Krohn. He reports in Cornish vows to fight DFL gun bills:
Cornish had introduced a bill that would have allowed teachers with permits to carry guns in school, a bill that had no chance of passing the DFL-controlled Legislature. He said he is withdrawing that bill to prevent it from detracting from debate on the other bills.
“I made a decision to pull my bills and concentrate my energies into defeating all of these proposals,” Cornish said Friday.
He is on the House Public Safety Committee, which is to discuss the bills Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He said he expects the DFL chair “will allow all the testimony we want to give” and said he expects the hearings will be boisterous. “I don’t think it’ll get out of order, but there’ll be a lot of gaveling.”
This was curious stuff, since we hadn't seen Cornish introduce those two bills, only carry on a lot about them in the media. But it's possible we missed something, so we reviewed the "Introduction and First Reading of Bills" emails that we receive and eagerly read when the non-partisan webmaster for the Minnesota House of Representatives sends them.
When Bluestem reads through the introduction of bills (January 31, January 28, January 24, January 22, January 17, January 14, and January 10), we don't see that Cornish ever introduced that bill. We checked with friends who know about these sorts of things, and were told that if he had actually introduced the bills that he claims to have withdrawn, a record would exist for the legislation.
In short, Cornish is once more all hat and no hopper.
He does share the objections that NRA lobbyists want him to bring up next week. Krohn reports:
Cornish said he and NRA lobbyists believe all of the bills introduced are flawed . . .
. . . Cornish said he will push for the few things where the NRA and gun restriction proponents can agree, such as expanding the categories of people convicted of violent crimes who can’t own guns.
Find out what the NRA lobbyists object to by reading the Mankato Free Press article.
Cornish will clearly achieve his goal next week, generating headlines, rather than solutions, while the Public Safety Committee--and the state--won't have the chance to give his ideas a hearing.
Nice work, if you can get it.
I was surprised to see this on the Front Page of the Mankato Free Press this AM. I knew an article was coming out, but I didn't know about the picture they got from Facebook. Ha. I can just hear the e mails coming down the fiber optics, or wherever they come from. I'll have to ask Al Gore, since he invented the Internet! [links added]
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