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Brad Swenson, Forum Communications Co., Published December 11 2009

Rybak says he won’t push for new gun laws

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Despite a track record of calling for tougher gun laws, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak says as governor he wouldn’t advocate for new gun laws.

“I have been the mayor of the largest city in the state who has successfully fought crime and dramatically driven it down,” Rybak said Wednesday in an interview. “And I didn’t do any of that; there wasn’t a single action I took that jeopardized anyone’s ability to have a hunting rifle.”

Rybak, seeking the Democratic endorsement for the governor’s office in 2010, was in Bemidji on Wednesday as part of a weeklong swing through Minnesota after announcing his candidacy Sunday.

Northern-elected Dem-ocrats staunchly defend the right to bear arms, and most trend to anti-abortion positions. Rybak is an abortion rights supporter.

“People can say anything they want, but you have to look at their record and I have a record of not limiting the rights of people to hunt, and I won’t,” Rybak said.

That’s especially true about sportsmen, he said.

Rybak, however, has been tough on handguns.

Asked Wednesday about his views now on stricter handgun laws, Rybak said, “I don’t propose any changes in what we’re doing right now.”

Brad Swenson is a reporter at The Pioneer in Bemidji, Minn., which is owned by Forum Communications Co.