When I invited Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus chair and the Second Amendment Foundation’s 2023 Grassroots Activist of the Year Bryan Strawswer to join me on Cam & Co, I thought most of our conversation would revolve around how to be an effective activist. While we definitely get into that, today’s discussion touches on a number of different topics, including an update on the latest attacks on the Second Amendment in the land of 10,000 lakes.
For the past few years, Minnesota gun owners had a bulwark against gun control legislation in the form of the state Senate, which was still controlled by Republicans though Democrats had a majority in the House as well as the governor’s office. Last fall, however, Democrats captured the Senate, albeit with a one-vote majority, and moved swiftly to target legal gun owners with a wide variety of anti-gun measures. Thanks in large part to the activism of groups like the MN Gun Owners Caucus, legislation banning so-called assault weapons failed to make it to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature, but Democrats did manage to pass a “red flag” law and additional background check/gun registration requirements by tucking those measures into an omnibus public safety spending bill.
As Strawser tells Bearing Arms, while some rural Senate Democrats claimed at the time that they reluctantly voted for the gun control measures because they wouldn’t have been able to dedicate more money to courts and cops otherwise, they’re now singing a different tune. In fact, a couple of them are cozying up to an outright prohibitionist to help raise money for their re-election bid in 2026.
Strawser has a message for the anti-gunners in the state: the caucus isn’t going away, and they’re not going to let voters forget their broken promises and feigned concern over trampling the rights of legal gun owners.
Grant Hauschild pretended to be a moderate by saying that some gun control measures were “too far reaching,” but now he’s schmoozing with a gun control extremist who said “No more guns. Gone.”@grant_hauschild, is banning all firearms consistent with your “Arrowhead values” ? https://t.co/DU7bdPoBXe pic.twitter.com/Bnjp80q73C
— MN Gun Owners Caucus (@mnguncaucus) October 18, 2023
I don’t know about you, but I find it deeply ironic that a prohibitionist like Giffords is hosting a fundraiser at a brewery given our nation’s past experience with prohibiting the sale of alcohol. That failed experiment a century ago should have put to rest the idea that banning a commonly owned and incredibly popular item will actually cause that product to disappear, but the anti-gun zealots are convinced that it’ll be different the next time around.
Strawser says the caucus will be reminding voters in Hauschild and Kupec’s districts about their embrace of Gifford’s anti-civil rights ideology when the pair are up for re-election in a few years, but he’s rightfully concerned that their newfound friendship with the head of the prohibition group means that they’ll be willing accomplices in enacting further restrictions on gun owners when lawmakers return to the statehouse next February. The imposition of “red flag” laws and more background checks on private transfers of firearms are just the opening salvo of a barrage of anti-gun bills that are likely to be introduced in the coming months, and while the MN Gun Owners Caucus has partnered with the Firearms Policy Coalition and the Second Amendment Foundation in order to take on Second Amendment infringements in the state, Strawser knows it’s always better to defeat a bad bill than to try to have an unconstitutional law thrown out by the courts.
To that end, I asked Strawser if he’s seen any success in persuading Democrats who champion criminal justice reform measures that more gun control inevitably leads to more policing, more arrests, more convictions, and more people in prison for non-violent, possessory offenses. Unfortunately, Strawser said that hasn’t happened, at least at the legislature, though he noted that the Minnesota chapter of the ACLU actually came out opposed to both the “red flag” measure and the new background check requirements… not on Second Amendment grounds, but because of concerns that the new laws would expand police powers and let them “enter people’s homes and infringe on their rights.”
Politics makes strange bedfellows, and in a blue state like Minnesota Second Amendment advocates are going to have to continue to look for allies that might not be a natural fit in a red state like Texas or Montana while remaining committed to the cause of protecting and strengthening our 2A rights. The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus has done a great job of advocating for we the people’s right to keep and bear arms, even if they’re fighting an uphill battle, and I’m glad to see Strawser and the caucus get some well-deserved recognition from the Second Amendment Foundation. Be sure to check out the entire conversation with Bryan Strawser in the video window below, and make sure you’re following them on social media as well.