In a recent op-ed in the Brainerd Dispatch, Minnesota State Rep. Josh Heintzeman asserted that "Minnesota can be a national leader on CWD."

Minnesota has a plentiful deer population and supports a thriving hunting sport, but, unfortunately, is within the crosshairs of a natural malady that causes CWD, chronic wasting disease. Science theorizes that CWD could in time spread to human populations, and Heintzeman has rightfully taken steps to promote related research programs at the state level.

Kudos aside, it is apparent Mr. Heintzeman does not see the irony in his intense dedication to mitigating and ultimately preventing the spread of CWD. Worrying about wildlife, while a noble endeavor, employs a blind man's vision if he cannot, at the same time, see and worry about mitigating and preventing widespread gun violence and mass shootings, and set a similar goal-of Minnesota becoming a national leader in gun safety.

Instead, Mr. Heintzeman has so far done all he can to block potential improvements to gun safety laws in Minnesota (even promising, "The Second Amendment shall not be infringed. Period."), and totally opposes new legislation requiring universal background checks for all firearm transfers, defensively claiming, "Criminals will never care if they are breaking the law".

Legal loopholes allowing disqualified individuals to be sold guns on-line, at gun-shows, or exchanged between private parties is not terribly different than ignoring and allowing CWD-infected wild deer to wander unmonitored, undetected, and uncontrolled, across state and county geographies, bringing deadly CWD into our backyards.

Fighting CWD is surely no more important than reducing gun-related violence and deaths, in Minnesota and nationwide. With common-sense legislation now pending that can be passed to measurably approach that goal, representative Heintzeman will hopefully see the light, and help guide Minnesota to become a national leader, in every sense.

Steven Olson