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Walz: Statewide 'swatting' shows need for gun safety, mental health funding

Gov. Tim Walz said his 15-year-old son, who attends high school in Mankato, Minnesota, came home traumatized after police responded to a fake call reporting an active shooter at the school Wednesday.

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Gov. Tim Walz speaks to a group of teachers and DFL supporters at the Olmsted County DFL headquarters in Rochester Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.
John Molseed / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz again called for a hearing on gun safety in the Minnesota Senate on the heels of a series of “swatting” incidents at schools across the state Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Walz said his 15-year-old son, who attends high school in Mankato, Minnesota, came home traumatized after police responded to a fake call reporting an active shooter at the school Wednesday.

“For four years now I have asked the senate to hold a hearing on guns and safety and smart changes that we need to make,” Walz said during a campaign stop Thursday in Rochester. “I was very specific about what I said — I asked them to hold a hearing — to start out to have a conversation and they won’t even do that.”

Governor Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz gets a tour of Garden Party Books from owner Andy Smith, who is also a candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 25B, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Walz said the Republican-controlled state Senate stands between Minnesotans and family leave, a gun safety hearing and secure abortion rights for women.

“I feel like the Senate is why Minnesotans can’t have nice things,” he said.

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Walz told the group of about three dozen people at the Olmsted DFL office the incidents Wednesday highlight the need for more mental health resources in public schools.

“Those are issues that the Legislature needs to be talking about,” Walz said. “Not telling us that our curriculum is wrong and banning books that our educators and our parents can have access to and need access to, not trying to defund at a time when we need more mental health counselors.”

Governor Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz gets a tour of Gray Duck Theater and Coffeehouse from owner Andy Smith, who is also a candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 25B, on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Walz also responded to criticism from his GOP challenger Scott Jensen, who spoke to supporters in Rochester Sunday , that Walz’s climate plan is unrealistic.

“That’s thinking that would leave us behind everywhere else in the world,” Walz said. He noted that Xcel Energy, Fortune 500 companies and research companies have endorsed the plan to lower the state's net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. He said the plan is an economic opportunity that aligns with Minnesotans’ wants.

“When you’re looking out to 2050, of course there’s going to be more things that are going to be going on, but these are the people holding us back from even putting in electric car chargers,” Walz said.

Rachel Aplikowski, communications director for the Senate Republican Caucus, said Walz needs to refresh his memory on the GOP Senate's willingness to talk about gun reform.

"Gov. Walz can say what he wants, but the Senate had two hearings on guns in 2020. One in St. Paul, and one in Hibbing," Aplikowski said.

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In fact, Aplikowski noted that Senate Republicans were in talks to deliver gun legislation reforms when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in March 2020, changing the focus of legislators.

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The Tribune publishes Records as part of its obligation to inform readers about the business of public institutions and to serve as a keeper of the local historical record. All items are written by Tribune staff members based on information contained in public documents from the state court system and from law enforcement agencies. It is the Tribune’s policy that this column contain a complete record. Requests for items to be withheld will not be granted.

John Molseed joined the Post Bulletin in 2018. He covers arts, culture, entertainment, nature and other fun stories he's surprised he gets paid to cover. When he's not writing articles about Southeast Minnesota artists and musicians, he's either picking banjo, brewing beer, biking or looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter "b." Readers can reach John at 507-285-7713 or jmolseed@postbulletin.com.
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