April 22, 2024

FRANKEN: People wanting more responsible gun ownership need to get ‘radical’

Democrat challenging Grassley questions what it will take for legislative action

Mike Franken, a retired Navy admiral and Democrat running for U.S. Senate, speaks to a room of 50 people May 24 at the E.J.H. Beard Administration Center in Newton.

With the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., still fresh in people’s minds during a meet and greet with Democrat Mike Franken on May 24 in Newton, the retired Navy admiral and candidate for U.S. Senate suggested it might take something radical to compel legislators to take action against guns.

“Unless we are willing to do something as edgy as printing an autopsy of a 6-year-old,” Franken said, not finishing his sentence and moving on to the next question. He later clarified to Newton News that his statement was commenting on legislators who fail to act every time a mass shooting occurs.

If people read the autopsy reports of similar mass shootings in schools, Franken said they would know what he is talking about. If the details of those autopsies were published in newspapers, posted on billboards or slid underneath the doors or windshields of staffers, Franken suggested lawmakers might get the idea.

In a tweet posted that same night as his stop in Newton, Franken reiterated similar sentiments by saying, “Citizens demanding more responsible firearm ownership need to become far more radical. Lives depend on it.” Closing the tweet, Franken tagged Republican opponent U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley.

During a follow-up interview with Newton News, Franken further criticized the gun industry in the United States and gun lobbyists for holding no consequence to the costs associated with the hardening of society. They are exonerated and get a free pass, he said.

“Tell me what extent is too much extent to go after those that perpetrate this,” he said. “I will ‘gunsplain’ any NRA member and they will cower in fear with practical applications and anecdotal aspects of it. And I’m not anti-gun. I’m a gun owner. But I’m a responsible gun owner. Unlike those who commit these shootings.”

At the meet and greet, Franken reiterated he is not anti-guns but stressed there needs to be more responsibility placed on the gun manufacturing industry and the owners of those firearms. He also told attendees the mass shooting issue is based on men’s fixation on guns, and suggested accessibility is lax.

During a trip to the state of Nevada, Franken said he entered a gun shop and asked how much it was to purchase a used Glock pistol. He was told $695. However, Franken revealed he lived out of start. But the clerk, he claimed, asked him where he stood, suggesting the gun could be acquired by illegitimate means.

“This isn’t the way it should be,” he said. “Gun owners should be proud of their capabilities, proud that they’re certified and been sanctified by a system that declares them competent. The military has a manner in which we sell surplus firearms. Did you know that? Congressionally directed to sell surplus firearms.”

In order to buy a firearms from the military, Franken said individuals go through a multiple-step process involving background investigations, education with a firearm instructor and a look into medical records to determine competency. Franken suggested the process could be duplicated outside of surplus firearms.

“I cannot and do not know of a time when one of those firearms was used in a mass shooting. Ever. We’ve been doing this for a long time. Tens of decades,” Franken said. “So maybe we ought to do that all the time. And periodically check up on people.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext 6560 or at cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.