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Bulletin letters to the editor: Gun legislation, charter commission

Schoen's response to

gun bill critic 'very arrogant'

Rep. Dan Schoen, we have done our homework. The way you ended your letter to the editor ("Bills don't strip Minnesotans of gun rights," Feb. 20) is a very arrogant way to talk to a constituent. Did you learn that at the police skills school or rookie legislator training?

Why would we want cops deciding if you have a mental health problem in the first place? Then they need a letter to say they are sane?

Stick to your speed traps by McDonald's and on Highway 61 and leave that adjudication to the courts, boards, commission or other lawful authority that someone needs mental health referral. Did you read Scott Wente's article ("Schoen bill part of gun debate," Feb. 13)? He was spot on when he pointed out that Sue Abderholden of the National Alliance on Mental Illness testified against your bill. She pointed out that it would do nothing to stop gun crimes and it would drive people that need help away from it. Yet you still keep going. Cops don't have all the answers to everything.

Another bill would turn permit-to-carry holders into felons for mistakenly carrying onto school property, day care centers or school functions, and allows for firearms confiscation. This is a solution in search of a problem; permit holders don't carry maliciously onto school property, Rep. Schoen. We have laws; we do not need any tweaking.

If you follow Rep. Michael Paymar's ideology and you do, on guns, you are a gun-grabbing liberal and no friend of the Second Amendment, as you assert.

My home is my castle. If I choose to wear a vest to go check on a noise at my door, why do I need a permit to get and keep body armor? None of your ideas have anything to do with the common criminal. Remember, Rep. Schoen, the bad guys do not play by the rules, ever. Stop trying to infringe on my rights.

If you need a bill, look at HF419/SF400, the Firearm Protection Act. It stops the federal government from making any law infringing my rights.

Debbie Beringer

St. Paul Park

Schoen doesn't look like guy

we elected

We are well into the 2013 legislative session. Legislators are facing a projected billion dollar budget deficit, which doesn't include repayment of the school funding shift.

This last election the DFL won majorities in the House and Senate; we contributed to the power change by sending Dan Schoen to replace retiring Republican Rep. John Kriesel. Schoen told us during his campaign that he was a lot like Kriesel, that he would stand up to partisan politics.

Schoen openly ran his campaign criticizing the GOP-led Legislature for not "focusing on job creation and improving student achievement." Schoen said he supported paying back the school shift and focusing on job creation. Schoen was given a spot on the House Taxes Committee, an excellent opportunity for him to affect tax policy. It's been over a month since Gov. Mark Dayton released his controversial tax reform proposals. And since that time Schoen's efforts have been centered on restricting body armor purchasing and letting lay policemen make judgment calls about a person's mental health fitness. Not once on his campaign website does Schoen discuss gun control, or body armor. Not once since taking office has Schoen written to his constituents in this paper to tell us what he thinks specifically about Dayton's tax plan.

The Schoen that we are seeing now looks nothing like the guy we voted into office last fall. I'd like to see him focus on more important issues, like the ones he campaigned on and that got him elected.

Jennifer Antiel

Cottage Grove

Let citizens decide on charter

In the minutes from the January 2013 Cottage Grove Charter Commission meeting, the following information is stated: "At the March meeting, the charter commission may vote as to whether we will proceed forward with the drafting of a proposed charter."

So, why should the charter commission continue to draft and put a charter, a framework of checks and balances for our city, on the ballot?

Best answer: Because 1,900 voters (over 1,600 validated) of Cottage Grove put their names on a piece of paper asking for one. 

Here is another key reason to draft a city charter and put it on the ballot: At city council meetings we often hear the council speaking about and encouraging citizen involvement. The charter commission has a great opportunity to create a means for citizen involvement by allowing the citizens of Cottage Grove a voice on issues in their city.

At a recent meeting I had the opportunity to visit with a charter commission member from the city of Stillwater. Stillwater has one of the oldest charters in Minnesota. In Stillwater, the charter commission along with the city council enhances the citizens' participation and compliments each other, offering a checks-and-balances system that our constitution is based upon.

It is a win/win situation. If the citizens decide to vote down a city charter, they got involved. If the citizens vote for a city charter, they got involved.

Please proceed with the drafting of a charter and allow the citizens to decide. The next meeting is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb 28, at Cottage Grove City Hall. Attendance is encouraged.

Leon Moe

Cottage Grove

Gun regulations shouldn't be partisan issue

After the Newtown school shootings, it was obvious that Rep. Dan Schoen's first month in office would be a trial by fire since he is a police officer and was put on the public safety finance committee that handles gun issues.

Schoen has done very well so far.  

Schoen has seen gun victims shot dead in cold blood locally on our streets so he has the right to support regulations on guns. In addition, he is focused on mainly dealing with the mental health aspect of the debate and has moved to increase the accessibility and quality of mental health services. As for the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that some gun regulations are allowed.

However, I have no problems with legislators who represent rural Minnesota, where the local police response could be up to 30 minutes, to be against gun regulations.

In addition, I always had respect for former state Republican Rep. Morrie Lanning of Moorhead who voted without fanfare against the conceal-and-carry gun law twice in his career.

The point I am making is gun regulations should not be a partisan issue like many Republicans and Tea Party activists make it out to be, but a regional issue.

Finally, Schoen is doing a great job at listening and using his own background in local law enforcement to do some important work in the Legislature. 

William Labovitch

South St. Paul

Labovitch is the affirmative action officer for the Senate District 54 DFL Party.