Phyllis Kahn's voicemail and email inbox have gotten pretty interesting, and disgusting, since she pitched her latest safety idea.
Kahn, a Minneapolis Democrat now tied as the longest-serving House member in state history (43 years and counting), has seen a lot in her days as an outspoken liberal not afraid to mix it up on hot issues. But one recent email was awful enough that Kahn decided to take it public.
The inspiration for Kahn's new batch of hate mail is a bill she intends to bring forward when the legislative session starts in March. Her proposal seems rather simple: Anyone on the FBI's terrorist watch list would be barred from buying a firearm in Minnesota.
Kahn's bill is an in-state version of a bill that has been defeated in Congress for going on 10 years, dating back to the George W. Bush administration. Numbers fluctuate from year to year, but recent estimates say 700,000 people are currently on the watch list.
Fewer than 10,000 on the list at any given time are American citizens, but a significant number of them have tried to buy guns. And succeeded. A report published in 2015 found that 2,233 people on the "consolidated" watch list triggered a background check when they tried to purchase a gun or explosive device between 2004 and 2014. More than 90 percent of them passed, and were allowed to buy a weapon.
The watch list is a highly secretive screening tool. Critics have questioned the expansive scope, and how low the bar might be for entry. There's room for debate about the watch list itself.
But there's no room for debate about gun control in America, a fact Kahn was reminded of when she checked her messages. Kahn says she has received "a lot of calls and emails." Part of the blame rests with "far right gun groups," which have used Kahn's bill in fundraising appeals. It's certainly managed to get some nuts to contact Kahn. She posted one of the most abhorrent messages to Facebook on Friday.
"Skank," begins the message, "you [deleted] Jews from New York think you can [deleted] over law-abiding citizens because you are something special. Not! The reason the government black list is unconstitutional is there is no due process involved, dumb [deleted]. It won't become law and would never be inforceable you ugly [deleted] bitch. But you bottom-feeding scum don't care about that! GO BACK TO NEW YORK WITH ALL THE OTHER KIKES!"
Kahn is originally from New York. But we'll quibble with this emailer's claim that she's "dumb." She's got degrees from Cornell, Yale, and Harvard, and was a microbial genetics researcher before she sought public office.