The three members of Minnesota's Republican congressional delegation — Reps. Tom Emmer, Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber — boldly expressed their sadness in the bloody wake of Tuesday's school shooting in Texas.
What courage. What leadership. These are busy public servants with re-election campaigns to run who took the time to lament the deaths of 19 grade school students and two teachers. Gold stars all around.
"Praying for the entire Robb Elementary community and the families of those lost in today's senseless act of violence," Emmer tweeted.
"Every child should be safe in their homes and schools. This was pure evil. The families of these innocent victims are in our prayers," Stauber advised on the same platform.
Fischbach, who co-sponsored legislation to fund police officers in schools, "stressed that no child or parent should live in fear about the safety of their school," the Star Tribune reported in a news story.
But they all do, Rep. Fischbach. Now more than ever, they all do.
Several years ago, just a day or two after one of America's mass shootings, Emmer visited the Star Tribune Editorial Board for a previously scheduled meeting. I asked him what he thought could be done to prevent such attacks.
Emmer said he wanted to understand why these shootings happen, which prompted me to suggest he support then-pending legislation to fund gun research. He said he would look into it. We moved on, and I never followed up. I should have.
Today, a quick look at the congressman's website reveals his Second Amendment priorities, and gun research is not among them.
"Our founders understood that an individual's right to keep and bear arms is a crucial individual liberty, and protection against a tyrannical government. Citizens must remain vigilant in order to protect their rights, and the ability to lawfully exercise these rights should remain free from government intrusion.
"This is why I introduced the Firearm Due Process Protection Act, which would ensure due process is protected when the federal government falsely denies an individual the right to purchase a firearm."
Emmer's ode to the Second Amendment, posted under a photo of the Constitution, goes on to tout his co-sponsorship of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which does pretty much what the title suggests; the Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act, which would "allow individuals to carry firearms on millions of acres of Army Corps lands," and the Hearing Protection Act, which would end "unnecessary federal restrictions" that "impair safety measures and the proper use of firearms."
The shooter in Texas didn't target a tyrannical government, he wasn't worried about permit to carry, he wasn't on Army Corps land, and he likely had no concerns about hearing. He just wanted to "shoot up a elementary school rn."
Fischbach's campaign website has a Second Amendment section, too, and the congresswoman is very concerned about our "God-given right to keep and bear arms."
"I will stand up to efforts by the radical left to abolish the Second Amendment and confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens," she states.
The posting goes on to note that "Michelle has a lifetime 'A' rating with the National Rifle Association on her service in the Minnesota Senate."
And, under her watch in Minnesota and Washington, the "radical left" has clearly failed to "abolish" the Second Amendment.
Another gold star for Rep. Fischbach, although she has work to do to catch up with Emmer's "A+" NRA rating.
Stauber, a retired police officer who's received NRA endorsement in the past, has a Second Amendment page on his congressional website, too. He uses the same photo of the Constitution that Emmer picked, but no text. He also has an "In the news" section on the site in which we learn that he visited Brainerd last June and had an "intimate session with supporters regarding gun rights and the Second Amendment."
In the "story" from an unidentified source, Stauber reveals that he "grabbed a firearm during the [Jan. 6] upheaval on Capitol Hill, which reaffirmed in his mind the need for firearms to be safe and secure in America today.
"These experiences demonstrate Stauber isn't ignorant of the realities of gun violence in the United States, he said, and they also have shown, time and time again, the vital role that firearms play in the everyday lives and security of Americans."
Vital indeed, but maybe not quite cutting it when considering the "security of Americans." Just ask the survivors in Uvalde.
No doubt ensuring that the NRA will back their candidacies again this election cycle, last year Emmer, Fischbach and Stauber all voted against H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, which would expand background checks and close the "Charleston loophole." Both bills passed in the House and stalled in the Senate.
Full disclosure: I own a shotgun for hunting. I also respect Second Amendment rights and asked for thoughts and prayers after another school shooting. And I'm a member of the Star Tribune Editorial Board, which has endorsed both Emmer and Stauber in previous election cycles.
Call me a hypocrite if you'd like. There's a lot of that going around these days.
Scott Gillespie is the Star Tribune's editorial page editor. He's at Scott.Gillespie@startribune.com.