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Where do Minnesota's election candidates stand on gun control?

It's back at the forefront of people's minds after the Pittsburgh atrocity.

It's now just eight days until Minnesotans take to the polls and cast their ballots in the Nov. 6 mid-terms, and gun control is regrettably once again a subject of debate.

The calls for gun control have grown even louder in the wake of the mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida in February, and the deaths of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday has amplified them further, while being met with resistance from supporters of the 2nd Amendment.

President Donald Trump appears to be in the latter group, suggesting in the immediate wake of the Pittsburgh shooting that the synagogue needed armed security guards.

Whichever side of the debate you fall on, here are the gun control stances taken by the candidates for Minnesota's gubernatorial and congressional races on Nov. 6.

Governor race

Jeff Johnson – Republican

Johnson is anti gun control, saying "self defense is a fundamental individual right and creating new 'gun control' restrictions on law-abiding citizens will only leave guns in the hands of criminals."

He says the U.S. Constitution is "unequivocal" in its language: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Johnson has a 93% lifetime rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which MPR reports translates to an A- rating.

Tim Walz – Democrat

Walz, who once had an A-rating and received donations from the NRA in the past (which he has since donated to gun violence charities), now has an F-rating from the organization as he is calls for gun control measures.

He supports a ban on assault weapons in Minnesota, as well as passing universal background checks.

Walz, an avid hunter, says he wants to build "coalitions" that protect law-abiding gun owners. He also opposes "stand your ground" laws and wants to fund public institutions to conduct research into gun violence.

Senate races

Karin Housley – Republican

Housley also backs the 2nd Amendment as guaranteeing the right to bear arms. She calls for enforcing existing gun laws, better addressing mental illness, and preventing "violent criminals and known terrorists from gaining instant access to firearms." Housley has been endorsed by the NRA in her bid for office against Tina Smith.

Jim Newberger – Republican

"I always have been, and will continue to be, a firm supporter of our Second Amendment Rights. It’s the one right that guarantees them all," Newberger says on his campaign site. That's all it says, but he has previously opposed gun control bills in the Minnesota legislature as being an attack on the 2nd Amendment.

Amy Klobuchar – Democrat

Minnesota's senior senator backs a ban on bump stocks (which were used in the Las Vegas shooting) as well as a ban on assault weapons. She also calls for universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and terror suspects.

Tina Smith – Democrat

Smith is calling for the passing of "common-sense" gun laws that prevent criminals and dangerous individuals from getting hold of a gun. She wants to ban people convicted of stalking from having guns. Smith has an F rating from the NRA.

1st Congressional District

Dan Feehan – Democrat

Feehan, who has served in the military, has previously called for universal background checks on gun purchases, and wants to lift the federal ban on gun violence research. He has however stopped short of calling for a ban on assault-style weapons, saying there needs to be discussion about responsible ownership of these firearms.

Jim Hagedorn – Republican

Hagedorn, who has an A-rating from the NRA, said he will fight to protect 2nd Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. He also wants to lift the ban on military personnel being armed while on base.

2nd Congressional District

Angie Craig – Democrat

Craig wants to lift the ban on federal gun violence research, supports universal background checks, prevent terror suspects on no-fly lists from buying guns, and reinstate the recently-repealed law banning some with mental illnesses from buying guns.

She also wants to ban the sale of military-style, semi-automatic weapons, and make bump stocks illegal.

Jason Lewis – Republican (incumbent)

Lewis has an A-rating from the NRA and has previously opposed stronger gun control laws, including the ban on assault-style rifles, bump stocks and extended magazines, which he has said won't prevent mass shootings.

He has responded to school shootings by calling for funding for better security at schools, making them more like airports. During a debate in May, he also suggested "violent video games" and "fatherless homes" have an impact on school shootings.

3rd Congressional District

Erik Paulsen – Republican (incumbent)

Paulsen has been one of the few Republican House candidates calling for gun control measures, saying he favors a ban on bump stocks and wants to "red flag laws" that allow police to confiscate weapons from unstable people.

He has taken money from the NRA in the past, but has been guarded over whether he would continue to, and admits he doesn't always agree with the group.

Dean Phillips – Democrat

Phillips backs the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban that was in place in the '90s, and also calls for passing universal background check legislation, and funding federal research into gun violence.

He also backs mental health and bullying programs, as well as laws that prevent guns finding their way into the hands of domestic abusers, terror suspects and violent criminals.

4th Congressional District

Betty McCollum – Democrat (incumbent)

Rep. McCollum supports a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and universal background check, saying legislative action to regulate guns "demands immediate attention in the new Congress."

Greg Ryan – Republican

Ryan lists "supporting the 2nd Amendment" as one of his key promises if elected, and has said he doesn't want any changes to federal gun laws.

5th Congressional District

Ilhan Omar – Democrat

Omar supports a ban on assault-style weapons, which includes the sale, production and importation of such weapons, and supports universal background checks. She also supports the funding of mental health and substance abuse programs to reduce the risk of gun violence.

Jennifer Zielinski – Republican 

Zielinski has previously told the Star Tribune she doesn't support further limits on guns, and wants better enforcement of the laws we already have.

6th Congressional District

Tom Emmer – Republican (incumbent)

Emmer has previously stated that "the ability to lawfully exercise these [2nd Amendment] rights should remain free from government intrusion." He has previously opposed gun control measures, such as a ban on bump stocks. He thinks addressing mental health is the way to reduce gun violence.

Ian Todd – Democrat

Todd backs universal background checks on firearm sales, and also wants firearms registration to be done electronically. He wants to lift the ban on federal research into gun violence.

7th Congressional District

Dave Hughes – Republican

Hughes backs the 2nd Amendment's protections to keep and bear arms. "This right should not be infringed," he says. "Firearms are the first line of defense against violent criminals and no law abiding American should have barriers erected which impair their self-defense."

Collin Peterson – Democrat (incumbent)

Peterson has previously accepted donations from the NRA, having become a DFL congressman in an otherwise Red district. He backs some gun control measures, such as "red flag" laws preventing unstable people possessing guns, provided "it ensures due process." He also wants improvements to background checks, and supports improving school security.

8th Congressional District

Joe Radinovich – Democrat

Radinovich supports universal background checks and banning bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. He also supports additional mental health services and improvements to school security.

He doesn't call for an assault rifle ban, but thinks the minimum age on purchases should rise to 21.

Pete Stauber – Republican

Stauber has pledged he "will fight any attempts to weaken" the 2nd Amendment.

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