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Hot Dish Politics

Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Dayton: Mass shootings 'incomprehensible' but unsure how to prevent them

Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that he's open to policy changes aimed at preventing mass shootings like what happened a day earlier in Oregon, but that he's yet to see federal or state legislative changes that would be effective at doing so. 

"I think there's too many guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them, but how do you keep the wrong people from getting their hands on guns?" Dayton said. "No one's come up with an answer to that. If they do, I'm all ears." 

Dayton has supported a proposed change to Minnesota law that would require people who buy weapons at gun shows be subject to a background check, as is now the case with purchases at gun stores. But he said he doubted such a move would prevent future mass shootings. 

In the latest incident, at least nine people were killed and seven injured in Thursday's shooting at a community college in rural Oregon. The 26-year-old shooter was killed in a shootout with police. President Obama responded with a plea to federal and state leaders that they take concrete steps to prevent what's become a depressingly common occurrence. 

"I don't think closing a gun show loophole is going to put an end to that, although it's the right thing to do," Dayton said. "If the president has something he thinks is going to make a significant difference at the national level, he should say what that is."

Petroleum industry runs ads statewide targeting Dems on lifting the crude oil export ban

WASHINGTON -- Minnesota is among nine states that will be targeted by ads paid for by the petroleum producers ahead of a House vote next week on lifting the crude oil export ban.

The Producers for American Crude Oil Exports is urging Congress to lift the ban on exporting American-produced crude, arguing it could help generate more jobs in the United States. With just a few exceptions, there has been a ban on exporting crude since 1975.

Proponents of lifting the export ban say domestic crude production is significantly higher than it was in the 1970s and it would be a source of jobs and boost wealth across the United States. Opponents say it could spark more flux in the markets and more uncertainty in the United States on gas and heating oil prices. Environmentalists, too, worry it is just more incentive to expand the production of fossil fuels.

Petroleum producers have paid for a six-figure ad buy that stretches in Minnesota's three major markets: the Twin Cities, Fargo and western Minnesota and Duluth. Ads will also run in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico and Texas.

Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, whose seat is already being heavily targeted by Republicans, said the ads' message was untrue. He is an opponent of lifting the crude export ban.

"This would shut down American oil refineries, putting hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans out of work," he said, in a statement. "And it would reduce oil and gas supplies here in the United States. The only beneficiaries would be the big oiil companies. The losers would be everyone else."

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