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Daudt said he was misunderstood: Still opposes gun control

Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt said on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, he is" hopeful " a deal can be reached at least to expand background checks before gun purchases. On Thursday, he said that he did not mean gun-control legislation will advance. (Don Davis / Forum News Service)

ST. PAUL—What we have here is a failure to communicate.

That is what Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt said on Thursday, April 26, about news coverage of gun legislation written from his comments a day earlier.

"Obviously, there was some misunderstanding of our press conference," Daudt said late Thursday afternoon, after spending the day trying to make sure gun-rights advocates knew that he still supports them.

"It is my fault too, because I wasn't as clear as I should have been," he added.

In a Forum News Service interview, in which he repeatedly said he is one of the top two gun-rights supporters in the House, the speaker said that any gun-control bills are essentially dead and he does not support them. He said the only gun-related bills he would support are ones that have agreement from gun-rights groups, and he does not see any such bill coming up this year.

But on Wednesday, he left the impression with many Capitol reporters that he could accept some gun law changes, and even expressed "hope" that there would be an agreement.

A reporter asked Daudt if there will be more gun legislation hearings this year.

The speaker replied: "You know I think there probably will. I know there are ongoing conversations, kind of behind-the-scenes between members who are trying to work to find consensus on solutions that will really help reduce putting guns in the hands of potentially dangerous criminals. I think we all share that goal. I know that those conversations are happening. I expect, or I hope, that those conversations can be fruitful and we can find some legislation that can get support of the Legislature."

On Thursday, he said that he did not mean gun-control legislation will advance.

The two sides do not agree on the problem, Daudt said Thursday. For instance, he added, gun-control proponents say background checks are the problem, but some of the mass shooters in recent months passed background checks.

The speaker called background checks a "feel good solution" that would do little.

He said that "everyone knows this is a pro-2nd Amendment Legislature" and any gun-related bills will not move before the Legislature adjourns May 21.

Daudt got involved in a Facebook exchange with a St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter. At one point, Daudt said that he apologizes "if my answers were too precise, but my job isn't to answer your questions, it's to be on my message."

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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