In the wake of last week’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, 1st District Rep. Tim Walz said he is willing to consider reinstating a ban on assault weapons.
“Protecting our citizens is something we need to do, and I think it is something that can be done without infringing on the lawful rights of gun owners,” Walz said in an interview on Tuesday.
The Mankato Democrat's support is notable because he has a record of supporting gun rights and has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, which gives him an “A” rating. Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and six adults dead has thrust the issue of gun control back in the national spotlight. A CBS news poll conducted after the shooting found 57 percent of those surveyed support stricter gun control laws compared to just 39 percent in April.
Walz, a high school teacher and parent of two young children, said elected leaders have a responsibility to make sure something this sort of tragedy never happens again. In addition to considering the assault weapons ban, Walz said it is also important to look at increasing funding for background checks and implement the mental health parity law passed in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone that requires health insurance companies to cover mental health treatment at the same level as treatment for physical illness.
One idea that Walz is not willing to entertain is the suggestion that school teachers be armed. He fears that would send the message that Americans do not believe law enforcement can do an adequate job protecting children.
“Arming teachers is the last and the worst possible suggestion,” he said.