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There's been some confusion today about Senator Al Franken's (D. MN) position on gun control.  Most specifically, on banning assault weapons:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) appeared to be taking a cautious route on President Barack Obama's proposal for a renewed ban on assault weapons, after a spokesman declined comment Wednesday on whether he supported the ban and omitted it from a list of gun control steps Franken would support.

The Rochester Post-Bulletin reported that at an event in Rochester, Minn., Franken said he supported limiting magazines more than 10 rounds and tightening background checks. Franken did not mention the assault weapons ban and his spokesman Marc Kimball told the paper, "I guess I don't have an answer for you."

"He's been listening to Minnesota, trying to be thoughtful on this and trying to get input from people from a wide spectrum of views," said Kimball. - Huffington Post, 1//17/13

Well Franken has clarified his support for a ban on assault weapons both in the local and national press:

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

May 26, 2010 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - Sen. AL FRANKEN, Minnesota Democrat, speaks during a hearing of the Senate's Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee into funding for early childhood development (Newscom TagID: zumawirewestphotosthree621857)     [Photo via Newscom]
Responding to a report Thursday that suggested otherwise, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) made it clear in a statement that he supports "the principle that we should reinstate a ban on assault weapons" and said he "will carefully review any proposal to do that."

A story in the Post-Bulletin of Rochester, Minn. quoted a Franken spokesman who said he didn't "have an answer" on whether the Democrat supported a ban. The report also suggested that Franken did not mention an assault weapons ban when he rattled off the list of his favored White House gun control proposals during a Wednesday press avail in Rochester.

But a Franken aide told TPM that the junior senator from Minnesota has "consistently supported" a reinstatement to the ban, and that the junior senator from Minnesota was actually not aware of President Barack Obama's exact proposals due to scheduling conflicts on Wednesday.

"He was in a meeting yesterday morning during the President’s press conference and then held a press avail directly after the meeting concluded, prior to being informed of the President’s proposals," the aide told TPM in an email Thursday. - TPM, 1/17/13

So in case you had any doubts about Franken defecting on banning assault weapons, rest assure that Franken has and will always support a ban on assault weapons.  Here's Franken's full statement:
“My heart is heavy over the tragedy that occurred in Connecticut and my thoughts are with those who are grieving. I’ve always supported the Second Amendment rights of Minnesotans to own firearms for collection, protection, and sport. But I also think we need to find a balance between those rights and the safety of our children and our communities. I co-sponsored legislation to large clips like those used in so many mass shootings.  I also support the principle that we should reinstate a ban on assault weapons, and I will carefully review any proposal to do that. We need to make sure we don’t have weapons out there that are really designed for the battlefield, and not for hunting. In the days and weeks ahead, I’m going to consult closely with all of the affected communities in the state – and that includes people like hunters, educators, parents, and other elected officials – about the best path forward.” - U.S. Senator Al Franken (D. MN), 1/17/13
Emphasis mine.

Glad to hear Franken clear up any confusion that any of us might have.  Franken not only supports the assault weapons ban but also wants to hire more mental health professionals in public schools so children with mental health issues have someone they can trust to talk to:

http://www.dailykos.com/...

According to the Minnesota School Counselors Association, Minnesota has the second-lowest ratio of school counselors to students in the nation, with about one counselor for every 800 students.

Gary Amoroso, executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA), said the state's budget woes have made it difficult to hire counselors and social workers at schools. MASA plans to push the Legislature for more money to do so in 2013.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., questions Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor during her testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday July 15, 2009, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Franken, a member of the Senate Education Committee, said he's pushed for more appropriations for school counselors since he joined the Senate in 2009.

With more mental health professionals in schools, he said, there's a better chance of stopping "someone who becomes a shooter, in a way that's happened in so many of these shootings." - Star Tribune, 1/7/13

More access to mental health professionals is actually a very good idea.  Ron Honberg, policy and legal affairs at the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), has stated that one of the biggest problems with helping treat mental illness early on is the reluctance about revealing the nature of their mental disorder or illness:
People often fear that exposing their illness could affect employment or lead to social rejection or insensitive comments, Honberg said.
It can also be a barrier to seeking treatment at a time when we need better access to mental health care.

And access, Honberg added, means more than just health insurance and medication, but also help with employment, housing and other quality-of-life issues:

"Pumping someone with medication isn't going to do the trick," Honberg said. "We have to give people reasons to live, help with employment and help developing meaningful social relationships." - PBS News Hour, 12/18/12

Franken recognizes both aspects of the major problem here and I applaud him for willing to do what's right on both accounts.  Show Al some love, donate to his 2014 campaign:
https://secure.actblue.com/...

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Guess he just lost my vote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annecros

    and I am a Minnesota resident.

    I support the idea of reducing clips sizes and back ground checks everytime someone purchases a gun from anyone.  I support better mental health checks as well.

    Banning guns that are important to the hunting and shooting world for no solid reason other than politics is nuts.

    These guns may look scary but they account for fewer gun deaths per year then shotguns.  They are hardly a menice to society at large.

    I even wrote Senator Frankan about this issue.  I guess he decided not to listen to all us hunters and shooting sports fans.  I guess he doesn't need our votes.

    •  Minnesotans hunt with assault weapons? (5+ / 0-)

      In Massachusetts, where I grew up, they usually used shotguns.

      Maybe the game is bigger in Minnesota.

      •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annecros

        I, like most predator hunters, use AR-15's for coyotes.  They are an excellent tool for fast moving targets that come in groups.

        To say the game is bigger shows how little you know about hunting and AR-15's.  AR-15's use tiny .223 rounds which aren't big enough for animals like deer.  Your shotgun is much more dangerous in reality.

    •  just what value is an quasi-military assault rifle (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      S F Hippie, nicolemm, Tennessee Dave


      to the 'hunting and shooting world' ?  AR -15's are useless for hunting.

      "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

      by louisev on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:52:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The AR 15 is one of the most commonly carried (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annecros

        long guns for the purpose of defense of self by both civilians and police.  It is not designed for the battlefield.  It is not a military style weapon.  It is a civilian gun that looks like a military equivalent.  Some people do hunt with them.  Some places prohibit hunting with them because they are not lethal enough.

        •  Not lethal enough? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          louisev

          Tell that to the 20 children and 6 adults killed with an AR-15 in Newtown.   Tell it to the 12 people killed in a movie theater in Colorado.  Tell it to the two people killed in a mall in Portland. Tell it to the numerous police officers who were shot clear through their bullet proof vests.

          This is not some harmless tool of hunters that has been unfairly targeted by people who want to take away your gun rights.  It has become the weapon of choice by crazed killers who want to kill as many people in as short amount of time as possible.

          You say these are not military style weapons but that is exactly how they are marketed by their manufacterer.   Many even have a camo finish.  And then there is this...."The optional grenade launchers listed in the descriptions of some models have a particular appeal even though civilians cannot buy them. (They are restricted by federal law.) He added that although he did not want to make his customers sound crazy, the different types of ammunition available for AR-15s made them attractive to people “who want to be prepared for an Armageddon-type situation.”

          I'm sorry but I'm just not buying it.

      •  I use my exclusively (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annecros

        for coyote hunting.  Many farmers in my area also have one for the same purpose.  You try shooting a 25-30 pound animal running full speed with a bolt action.  To say they are useless is just proving you know almost nothing about predator hunting and AR-15 style modern rifles.

      •  People hunt with AR-15's all the time. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annecros

        Not deer (which .223 is really too small for) but smaller animals.  They make convenient varmit guns.

        People also hunt with bows, antique weapons and even in some areas pistols. Weapon choice is generally personal.

    •  Well read the weasel words (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allenjo, nicolemm, Tennessee Dave

      He supports the principle of a ban.  He doesn't say he supports a ban.   He's carefully risk averse as usual.  

      The guns don't just LOOK scary they just slaughtered dozens of defenseless children.  

      You don't need a gun like that to kill deer.  I mean what kind of a hunter are you?  Do you just spray hundreds of bullets at the animal?  What kind of sport is that?  

      I know plenty of MN hunters including bow hunters who have respect for the animals they are hunting.  

      This idea that you need to go to war against any living creature in the state of Minnesota is nuts.

      Al, take a STRONGER stand.  Waffling is not inspiring.  

      •  I'm sorry but I think you are being way to harsh (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sylv, MGross, NonnyO

        to Franken here.  He has always supported an assault weapons ban but he wants to review what a final assault weapons ban bill looks like.  Is it so wrong he wants to review the final bill first?  I've talked to you before in the comments about Franken and I understand some of your concerns and I support people putting the pressure on their Senators but there's a difference between applying pressure and just mean name calling.  Remarks like calling him a "weasel" doesn't spark intelligent debate it just creates sympathy for Franken and pie fights.

        Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

        by poopdogcomedy on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:06:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He's just so darn risk averse (0+ / 0-)

          It's not that I have any faith in any bill doing a darn thing but it's totally hopeless until people are willing to take stands against this cult of the gun.

          No doubt he will take a carefully nuanced stand behind a carefully meaningless bill.  

          •  Wow. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sylv, NonnyO

            Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

            by poopdogcomedy on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:38:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't bother (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annecros

              Take a look at commenting history and I think you'll agree that it would be like banging your head against a brick wall.

            •  Sorry for the cynicism (0+ / 0-)

              Well actually I'm not very sorry about the cynicism.

              "I’ve always supported the Second Amendment rights of Minnesotans to own firearms for collection, protection, and sport. But I also think we need to find a balance between those rights and the safety of our children and our communities."

              Balance?  How many dead kids are we going to balance?  I don't see how you balance a dead six year old against anything.

              When did our party get taken over by people who feel that there is no issue they can't "balance".  

      •  I don't think you know anything about (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annecros

        all type of hunting.  I would never use my AR-15 for deer hunting.  The bullets are much too tiny and would be very hard to kill a deer size animal.

        I use mine exclusivly for coyote hunting.  They are the perfect rifle for said purpose.

      •  kind of a 2 step dance here? (0+ / 0-)
        Al, take a STRONGER stand.  Waffling is not inspiring.
        agree with you greenbell, sounds like a waffle dance to me.

        And what bill did he actually co-sponsor?

        "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

        by allenjo on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:52:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Really? The deer here are not armed (6+ / 0-)

      and have never been known to launch a preemptive strike against hunters.  I'm not a hunter, but have some in my family and have never seen an assault rifle in their homes.  Assault rifles are not needed.

      The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

      by MufsMom on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:09:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No one uses an AR-15 for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annecros

        deer hunting.  It isn't even legal because the bullets are too tiny.  You need better calibers for deer hunting.

        I use my AR for coyote hunting as it is perfectly suited for such activities.  It is the number 1 choice of predator and varmint hunters.  That style of hunting is also the fastest growing style of hunting in the hunting community.

        To ban our weapons is to spit on the hunting community.

        •  Well, not every assault weapon is an AR-15 (0+ / 0-)

          I imagine you could probably use an AK-47 clone for deer hunting given the larger round.  People around the world certainly do use actual AK-47's as hunting weapons.

          •  The AK-47 is a full auto. (0+ / 0-)

            You can get an AK style semi auto however and yes, it is chambered in a larger round.  The problem is that those rifles are not very accurate so they aren't suited that well for deer hunting.

        •  Coyote's have been around a long time....... (0+ / 0-)

          ....much longer than AR-15's.  You can't tell me that these assault style rifles are the only effective way of hunting them.  So you are saying that the ease of hunting this particular animal with this particular weapon is worth the slaughter of innocents?  I'm sorry but I think you need to reexamine your priorities.

        •   Noah Pozner (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NonnyO

          This little 6yr old boy was shot 11 times with an AR-15.  His lower jaw was shot off.  Most of one of his hands was missing.  And this is just the damage we know from this one child because his mother was brave enough to step forward with this discription and the Governor of Connecticut was sympathic to her need for someone in authority to witness her sons injuries.  Someone who might be able to help stop this madness from ever happening again.
           I think you can find another way to kill your coyotes.

          •  I didn't committ those (0+ / 0-)

            horrible crimes show am don't see why you need to punish me for some other crazy persons crime.  There are some solid ways to reduce that sort of situation starting with reduced clip sizes.

        •  Where - in Minnesota - (0+ / 0-)

          ... do you do coyote hunting?

          I know there was a wolf hunting season in MN this year (and Klobuchar did not win any blue ribbon support from me for saying she favored taking wolves off the endangered list).

          It's been many years since I heard of anyone shooting a coyote in Minnesota.  I was under the impression that if there were any left they might be in the Arrowhead forests, but I've never heard of them bothering anyone anywhere else.

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:24:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The wolf population is only (0+ / 0-)

            in the northern teirs of Minnesota.  Coyotes are a serious problem for wildlife where I live.  I am about 1 hour south of the Twin cities in rural farm country.  Our coyote populations are exploding.

    •  Feinstein's bill will have many exemptions for (0+ / 0-)

      rifles used for hunting.

    •  You're going to give an effective vote to a Repub (0+ / 0-)

      over Franken's support for a ban on future sales of assault rifles?

  •  on "counselors" in schools (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO

    This is great news.  

    However, regarding this...

    With more mental health professionals in schools, he said, there's a better chance of stopping "someone who becomes a shooter
    I have some concerns.  It's a nice theory, but my practical experience, backed up by other parents that I have spoken to, is that the default position of a school counselor is that all of a child's problems are the fault of the parent, including physiological illnesses such as fibromyalgia and attention deficit order, and some just flat wrong information, such as a counselor telling a parent that her child did not need the medication prescribed by her doctor (when did a "counselor" get a medical degree that trumps a medical doctor's?), and telling me that my child's crying (from the extreme pain of fibromyalgia) was because I held her hand and walked her in to school (confusing comforting and encouraging a child in pain to continue to be productive, with promoting dependence).   When the subject came up among other parents, there was a chorus chiming in, of, "That's exactly what happened to MY family."

    My point being that mental health professionals, as in PSYCHIATRISTS, are an excellent resource for a child who is in need of care.  The typical school counselor, who is likely here in Texas to be of the Creationist Young Earther If-in-doubt-blame-the-parents persuasion, is likely to cause as much harm as good.

    In the case of many of these shooters, they appeared to have actual mental illness, which was unlikely to be resolved through counselling alone, and was in need to medical treatment.   If a counselor could manage to simply refer a child to treatment, that would be great, but many of the counselors try to do their own brand of counselling, instead, which can be ineffective or even cause more damage.  

    On further consideration, perhaps it would be beneficial if we could improve the quality of the counselors in the schools.  We seems to get the dregs.

  •  assault weapons (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueness, nicolemm, Tennessee Dave, NonnyO

    are NOT necessary in civilian hands. Neither for home defense nor hunting. Ever! Period. End of story.

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