Suburban MN conflicted on guns as national debate roars again

Published 10:14 am Thursday, June 30, 2016

By Brian Bakst

MPR News/90.1

Sandy Bartholomew began down the path of buying a gun after seeing a Facebook post with her grandson at a shooting range and deciding it would be fun to join him in target shooting. But in light of recent events, she says it would offer personal security, too.

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“Never in a million years when I walked in here did I think I was going to go as far as getting a permit to carry,” she said. “But the more you think about it, the more you see on the news, it might be a good thing for me to do.”

But her views on vetting gun buyers might seem surprising: “I just think we need stricter gun laws in so many ways. I wouldn’t mind waiting three months if that’s what it took. Or six months.”

Bartholomew, a retired mortgage underwriter, was shopping this week at a gun store in Osseo, Minn., a northeast suburb in the state’s 3rd congressional district.

The district could be home to one of the nation’s most expensive and competitive races as U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen tries to hold off Democratic challenger Terri Bonoff, a state senator. Already, the gun issue is creeping into the political conversation.

Democrats, including challenger Terri Bonoff, are calling for banning people on terrorist watchlists from buying guns. Some argue that approach has pitfalls of its own and are urging Paulsen to avoid any rash decisions.

“Protect our rights, focus on the problem not at the tool being used,” said Mike Padden, who works at an area printing company.

Retired accountant Dar Smith said she would like more restrictions.