With friends like Ellison, who needs enemies?

In Greater Minnesota, strong support for the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms persists. And make no mistake about it, during the past year area gun shops have had record sales because many citizens fear that the government will take away their guns, leaving them defenseless against tyrants or criminals who don’t obey the law anyhow.

With beliefs like that, it is surprising then that a Minnesota Congressman would come out against the Second Amendment. During an interview last weekend on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, 5th District Congressman Keith Ellison, DFL-Minneapolis, was asked by Maher, “Why doesn’t your party come out against the Second Amendment? It’s the problem.”

Ellison responded, “I sure wish they would. I sure wish they would.”

To be fair, Ellison represents mostly Minneapolis, where gun violence is an almost every-day occurrence. And he also said, “We have come out very strong for common-sense gun safety rules,” and, “I don’t think you have got to eliminate ownership of all guns in order to get some common sense gun rules.”

Well, nobody is against gun safety. That’s why we have gun-training classes for hunters.

And nobody is against “common sense.”

What’s lacking, and where Ellison’s comments become controversial, is trust that the government will act with common sense by allowing law-abiding citizens to keep their guns.

Everyone agrees that we need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The difficulty is in doing that without infringing on the constitutional rights of the law abiding.

Ellison doesn’t specify with what he would replace the Second Amendment. Would he ban “assault weapons,” however they are defined? Or limit the size of magazines? Would either of those measures keep us safe against people who don’t obey the rules?

There must be many DFLers who wish he hadn’t said what he did. Republicans are probably hoping to hear more from the Minneapolis Congressman.