Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tim Walz has returned a campaign contribution from the National Rifle Association (NRA) following pressure from opponents.
The congressman for Minnesota's 2nd District was among the state politicians highlighted as receiving funding from the NRA in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, which left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured by a man who had 23 guns in his hotel room.
On Tuesday, Walz's fellow gubernatorial candidate, state Rep. Erin Murphy, called on anyone running to become Minnesota's governor in 2018 to return contributions from the NRA, an organization that is under the microscope for its political lobbying efforts amid calls for tighter gun controls following the Vegas tragedy.
The Washington Post's tally of NRA contributions show Rep. Walz has received $18,950 from the organization.
Murphy was joined later by another candidate, St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman, who criticized Walz for "proudly" holding an "A" rating from the NRA, and for his voting record in Congress – including voting to repeal the Obama administration order banning those with mental health issues from owning guns.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Walz said he supports "universal background check legislation, oppose conceal and carry legislation before Congress, and oppose legislation to reduce restrictions on gun silencers."
He also said that he would be donating the $18,900 he received from the NRA to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
He then hit back at his critics, saying "Today, some of the same politicians who have been unable to produce results on gun violence prevention in Minnesota chose to use this tragedy to gain a political edge in the campaign for governor.
"I get it - that's politics. It's also a distraction from the task at hand, which should be acting to stop tragedies like the attack that just took place in Las Vegas from happening again."