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Reader Opinion: Government of, by and for the people

Up north, we the people live in the "land of sky-blue waters". Although certainly in the middle of a "blue" state, we are nevertheless, in one way, deep in a "red" zone.

Last autumn, just before midterm elections, the Chalberg Theater at Central Lakes College hosted a candidate forum, presented by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, for local Minnesota House district candidates. Taxes, education, workforce, healthcare, diversity, and other issues were discussed.

One pressing question posed from numerous, concerned audience members probed candidates' positions on gun rights versus gun safety, and, although NRA national chieftains weren't in the room, you could sense their presence from the measured answers:

"I'm a strong Second Amendment supporter", "The NRA backs my campaign", "Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are only a tool", "It's our culture's fault", "Hollywood's to blame".

Since being re-elected, MN House District 10A representative Josh Heintzman has doubled down on adopted NRA positions—for one, rejecting any legislative improvements to universal gun-purchase background checks, currently up for consideration in the Minnesota Legislature.

"According to polling done in 2018 by the Star Tribune, 9 in 10 Minnesotans support criminal background checks on all gun sales." (Source: Everytown For Gun Safety).

Yet, almost unbelievably, Mr. Heintzeman states he knows where a majority of his district stands on the issue and that adding regulations would be ineffective because "criminals will never care if they are breaking the law." With that logic, if criminals will always be breaking laws, why have any laws at all?

Mr. Heintzeman, if he stands by his claim, should certainly allow his constituents to hear his poll data speak for itself. Whether the results he cites are straw-polled from cronies or are comprised of bonafide survey data, we the people deserve an honest, fact-based, full disclosure.

Steven Olson