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GOP lawmaker apologizes for comments he made at gun control rally

Gov. Tim Walz said Rep. Cal Bahr's words were unacceptable.

A Republican lawmaker has been criticized by state leaders over a comment he made at a gun rights rally at the Minnesota capitol.

Rep. Cal Bahr (R–Bethel) was among the speakers at the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus rally on Saturday, and posted his speech on his Facebook page (which you can watch at the bottom of this page).

It's one passage in particular for which Rep. Behr drew heat from Gov. Tim Walz, among others, who said he is inciting violence against gun control supporters.

"There are a lot of us in this room who've had enough, and it is time to start riding herd on these people who want to take away your rights from you," Bahr said.

"They will not go quietly into the good night and they need to be kicked to the curb, stomped and run over a few times."

Rep. Bahr joined hundreds of 2nd amendment supporters in the capitol for the rally, which comes at a time when Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature have proposed the introduction of "Red Flag" laws allowing police to confiscate weapons from those who present a danger to themselves and others.

They're also proposing the introduction of universal background checks, which would cover all forms of gun sales.

In response to Rep. Bahr's comments at the rally, Gov. Tim Walz said: "Encouraging violence endangers our communities and undermines our democracy, particularly when the statement is made by an elected official.

"This type of language is unacceptable and demands condemnation from all political parties."

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Walz's comment was echoed by Minnesota House Majority Leader Melissa Hortman, who said: "Rep. Bahr’s comments are reprehensible and have no place in civilized political discourse.

"Encouraging violence is irresponsible and dangerous. While some political issues elicit strong feelings by proponents and opponents, a hallmark of our country’s democracy is that we resolve disputes without recourse to violence."

There was also criticism from Bahr's fellow Republican, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.

Bahr says he's 'sorry for the confusion'

Bahr released a statement on Monday afternoon to clarify the comments he made.

He says that his words have been misunderstood by "several members of this body, and members of the media" and said his use of violent language was in reference to the two proposed gun bills, not the people backing said bills.

"My statement was not in any way directed towards people," he said. "Instead, my comments were focused on the legislation that would restrict the rights of Minnesotans."

"I am sorry for the confusion that has taken place. I regret not being clear in my comments. I do not condone violence. There was no intention of violence in my statement."

A hearing on proposed gun legislation will be held in the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division this Wednesday.

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