BELLEVUE, WA – Outraged by the spectacle of a memorial service turned partisan pep rally, and recalling that Walter Mondale supported a ban on personal defense handguns when he ran unsuccessfully for president in 1984, Minnesota gun owners provided the critical votes to elect Norm Coleman to the U.S. Senate.

Likewise, Minnesota gun owners provided the edge for pro-gun Republican Tim Pawlenty in a gubernatorial race where the Democrat Farm Labor Party attacking him for his pro-gun stand.

“Minnesota gun owners should be rightfully proud of their effort,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “Walter Mondale was a desperation candidate for a party that has lost touch with reality on the gun issue, a party that worked hard to vilify Norm Coleman as an extremist. Likewise, DFL gubernatorial hopeful Roger Moe represented a party that has demonstrated serious disregard for the personal safety of Minnesota residents by consistently blocking concealed carry reform.

“By contrast,” Gottlieb continued, “Coleman and Pawlenty both support common sense legislation, including concealed carry reform, while gun owners remember that Mondale wanted to ban certain classes of handguns designed ideally for law enforcement and personal protection. The final straw was the DFL’s adoption of an anti-handgun plank in their party platform.”

Gottlieb said Minnesota voters recalled a Mondale speech at St. Olaf College in 1999, when he blamed violent crime on firearms, when he should have blamed criminals.

“I think what aroused gun owners most, though, was that display of emotional demagoguery at what was supposed to have been a somber and sincere memorial service for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone,” Gottlieb observed. That grotesque event both enraged and energized gun owners to vote, knowing that their firearms civil rights hung in the balance.

“Like voters in several other states,” Gottlieb continued, “Minnesota gun owners used their ballots to send a message to the national Democratic Party leadership that they have had enough. For months, Democrats have tried to soften their anti-gun image, never once repudiating their anti-gun platform. Democrats, under the leadership of Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, have blocked essential federal judicial nominations. They have created gridlock in Congress out of sheer partisanship, and thanks to Minnesota gun owners, that should come to an end.”