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Reader's view: Gun issue forced on Legislature after massacre

A Feb. 23 letter to the editor claimed I have authored a bill to "oppress every one of (my) voters' constitutional rights." I assumed the letter writer was referring to his Second Amendment rights. If so, he confused me with someone else.

A Feb. 23 letter to the editor claimed I have authored a bill to "oppress every one of (my) voters' constitutional rights." I assumed the letter writer was referring to his Second Amendment rights. If so, he confused me with someone else.

I didn't run on the gun issue. It was forced on us at the Legislature after the massacre at Newtown, Conn., a month and a half after the November election. It was after an entire class of first-graders, 20 in all, and six adults were gunned down that public opinion demanded we consider ways to make us safer.

I have no antipathy toward the Second Amendment. I do not advocate legislation taking away any Minnesotans' rights -- or their guns.

One bill I authored simply would amend the Minnesota Personal Protection Act to make a chief of police the issuing authority of a conceal-carry permit rather than the sheriff of the applicant's county of residence. The other bill simply would establish a permit system for anyone who wishes to own, possess or use body armor and create criminal penalties for violations of the law.

It is a very serious issue, and we need rational, respectful debate.

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Rep. Erik Simonson

Duluth

The writer represents District 7B in the Minnesota House.

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