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In wake of mass shootings, Stauber votes against gun restrictions

The Hermantown congressman opposed a pair of bills introduced after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York.

Pete Stauber
Pete Stauber
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DULUTH — In the wake of several mass shootings, U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Minn., voted against a bill that would raise the purchasing age of semiautomatic rifles to 21, regulate bump stocks and prohibit "large capacity ammunition feeding devices."

Though the bill passed the House on Wednesday, its future is uncertain in the Senate.

In an emailed statement to the News Tribune, Stauber, the 8th Congressional District representative from Hermantown, said he opposed the "Protecting Our Kids Act" because it restricted access to guns, which he said was a violation of Second Amendment rights.

On Thursday, Stauber also voted against a bill that would enact so-called "red flag" laws, which would allow federal courts to prevent people from buying guns if they pose "extreme risks" to themselves or others. The bill passed the House.

“I support the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans and will oppose legislation designed to take away these constitutional rights," Stauber said.

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The Protecting Our Kids Act passed the House in a 223-204 vote Wednesday largely along party lines with just two Democrats voting against it and five Republicans voting for it.

Minnesota's congressional delegation stuck to party lines with its four Democrats voting "yes" on the bill and its three Republicans, including Stauber, voting "no."

Asked if there was any specific legislation Stauber would support to prevent future mass shootings, a spokesperson for Stauber said he backs three: the STOP Straw Purchases Act, the Securing Our Students Act and the Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act. The bills would make it easier to prosecute illegal gun purchases and designate federal money for increased school security, more school resource officers and mental health guidance counselors.

The bills would not restrict access to guns.

"I have signed on to bills that would increase school security to ensure our kids are safe while learning, make it harder to obtain a gun illegally and improve mental health options for those in need," Stauber said in the statement. "It’s time to work together to address the root causes of school violence, not play more partisan politics.”

Stauber receives considerable donations from pro-gun organizations and touts defending the Second Amendment on his campaign website.

According to OpenSecrets.org , which monitors campaign finance data, Stauber has received $203,595 from the National Rifle Association, through direct and independent donations, since his first race in 2018. The site puts him as the 33rd-highest recipient of NRA money among all current members of the U.S. House and Senate.

On Twitter, state Rep. Jen Schultz, DFL-Duluth, who is running against Stauber for the 8th District seat, called the gun-control measures in the House-passed bill "commonsense measures supported by a majority of Democrats AND Republicans."

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She has previously said she'd also support background checks and red flag laws.

Jimmy Lovrien covers energy, mining and the 8th Congressional District for the Duluth News Tribune. He can be reached at jlovrien@duluthnews.com or 218-723-5332.
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