Offensive, bizarre, confusing, and funny things happen at the Minnesota Capitol all the time.
Rarely are they done on purpose.
Earlier this week, the Minnesota House Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee held a hearing on a couple extreme gun bills authored by House Republicans. One would allow for "permitless carry," and the other bill is a classic "stand your ground (and kill someone if you feel like it)" proposal. Learn more about the substance behind those terrible ideas here.
In this story, we shall focus on a master-class in trolling, delivered by a testifier identified as "Ross Koon," who approached the microphone ostensibly to speak in favor of a gun rights bill.
Gun-related hearings are always among the best-attended and most tense hearings at the Capitol. Emotions run high, as passionate Second Amendment defenders and public safety officers weigh in. Koon, for example, followed Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell, who warned legislators the bills were unnecessary, as Minnesota gun owners have plenty of rights already.
Then Koon sat down, brushing back his long hair so it just rested on the hoodie he wore. Koon said he was there to speak on behalf of himself "and family members in West St. Paul, Zimmerman, and Elk River."
This is a very normal way to begin one's public testimony.
And then? Take it away, Ross.
Note that DFL Rep. Jack Considine, DFL-Mankato, tries cutting off what sounds like authentic right-wing nonsense. Committee chairman Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center (who politely wore his Glock to the gun bill hearing), meanwhile, thinks it's perfectly alright.
"This testimony is offensive," Considine says.
"Why?" Cornish asks innocently. "What happened? Maybe to you, but not to a lot of people in the room." [Editor's note: !!!] "We never shut down any of the opposition [to the bills], we're certainly not going to shut down the people who [support them]."
According to the Pioneer Press, Koon "quickly left the hearing after his speech." On weirdo right-wing blogs like True North, terms used to describe Koon -- "utterly unknown to the 2nd-Amendment activist community," acting "with the obvious, full knowledge of Minnesota’s anti-gun/pro-criminal-safety 'elite'" -- make him sound like some sort of fugitive.
In fact, he is a fugitive. Not from the law, but from the public.
Come back, Ross Koon. This is the first intentionally funny thing to happen in the Minnesota House of Representatives all year. We, the people of Minnesota, demand you start testifying more often.
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