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Rep. Tony Cornish wore a semi-automatic rifle pin to today's gun control hearing [PHOTO]

Cornish is all about the good things in life -- guns, incarceration, and the bald-faced sale of political influence via lobbying.
Cornish is all about the good things in life -- guns, incarceration, and the bald-faced sale of political influence via lobbying.

This morning the legislature kicked off three days of gun control hearings, starring Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder.

SEE ALSO: Minnesota lawmakers propose gun control legislation [VIDEO]

Cornish has emerged as the legislature's staunchest gun rights advocate -- a title he wore proudly, literally, on his chest today at the Capitol.

Here's a closeup:

Cornish's flair items prompted Ed Kohler to opine, "I wish more politicians would wear the logos of the lobbyists they're working for. Nice precedent, Rep. Cornish."

Cornish also fell a little short of tactful when it came to his choice of words during this morning's hearing. From Capitol reporter Jennifer Brooks:

Yikes!

The Star Tribune details the specifics of today's proceedings:

First up was a bill sponsored by the committee chairman, Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul,that would expand state background checks that now apply to sales of pistols and assault weapons by licensed gun dealers. Paymar said his bill would extend the same checks to gun shows, internet sales and private sales.

Currently, he said these are "loopholes" that allow people who are not legally allowed to purchase weapons -- such as violent felons and people who have been committed for mental illness -- to buy guns.

The second bill, proposed by Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, would allow local police departments to take a person's known mental health issues into account when deciding whether to grant a permit to purchase weapons.

Representatives of the state's police officers and police chiefs spoke in favor of Paymar's bill, saying it was a reasonable way to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, emphasizing that he supports the 2nd Amendment as a constitutional right, spoke in favor of Schoen's bill.

But in the words of the Mankato Free Press , "Cornish said he and NRA lobbyists believe all of the bills introduced are flawed." With regard to the bill that would expand background checks, Cornish is concerned it "will require a state or federal gun registration system that he opposes."

Meanwhile, gun control-skeptical Republicans are framing the hearings as yet another example of how the DFL is veering off the budget-and-jobs track they vowed to adhere to in the weeks leading up to the legislative session:


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