Ask a smoker how the repairs are going to go

From my desk

Bob Williams

Last week, I caught a radio morning show on the way to work and listened to Minnesota House District 4B representative Jim Joy lament a couple bills making their way through St. Paul on gun safety and of all things lawnmowers.

Joy reiterated points made recently by local sheriffs, including Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander, who sent a letter to Rep. Matt Bliss, noting the unconstitutional overreach and violation of gun owner’s rights in HF396, a bill regarding ammunition and firearm storage requirements. Glander stated correctly that there are already laws on the books regarding negligent storage of guns and ammo. 

My favorite part was Glander’s discussion of his childhood and how he was raised by his parents to be a responsible gun owner. I can attest, being a frequent visitor to the Glander household as a kid and doing a bit of small-game hunting there with Todd’s brother Chad. 

Todd’s killer quote was that the nature of the bill inhibits law-abiding citizens’ ability to protect themselves and their families if a threat is imposed. Bang! That hit the nail on the head.

“If we cannot have a loaded firearm easily accessible to protect ourselves, especially in our own home, are we expected to have the criminal wait until we locate our ammunition and load our own weapons?” Glander asked.

That’s enough said on the “gun safety” bill right there. It’s stupid, redundant and unnecessary.

My bigger concern, personally, is the utter nonsense about banning future sales of gas-powered lawnmowers and chainsaws, leaf blowers, etc., in 2025 (HF1715). Oh yeah, they’re going after Zambonis too! So much for the State of Hockey.

Bear in mind, the two authors of this bill don’t live anywhere near you. Rep. Heather Edelson lives in Edina, while Rep. Jerry Newton resides in Coon Rapids. If they’ve got such a big pollution problem in the metro stemming from basic yard maintenance and youth hockey games, go ahead and ban them in the cities.

Unfortunately, the government’s only answer to anything it disagrees with now is to ban it.

The decision to up and ban products against their agenda here in Minnesota has been trending since 2007, when the government and lobbyists put the screws to specific businesses and smokers.

At the time, I took to area editorial pages and squared off with the head of Minnesota’s American Heart Association, the big cheese of the American Lung Association and multiple nitwits from cash-heavy lobbying firms looking to do everything they could to ban smokes.

I was not a grandstanding smoker. My real anger was about the junk math they used to convince people infringing on business owners’ turf was the best idea.

I began by calling out the marketing use and publishing of public poll results that had no statistical worthiness when applied to the population of the entire state. It was like they called 800 people they knew would be for their cause and ran those numbers online and in print like they were gospel. They reeked of bias and were well short of the bare minimum of the number of people that should have been polled for an accurate statewide estimate, at best.

I got called a few choice names by people who knew I was correct, but also knew it didn’t matter because I was on the side of the sinner. In 2025, that could be you, Mr. John Deere.

Much of my writing centered on defending small business owners from government overreach.

Monday morning, Rep. Joy was saying exactly the same thing about mowers, chainsaws and the businesses that sell and repair them that I said about bar owners being unable to decide for themselves if they want to ban smoking in their establishment. 

Hundreds of bars and restaurants closed after Minnesota enacted its statewide smoking bans, a precursor to more insane federal legislation and sin taxation from President Obama, who went off the charts, continually adding annual punishments to what would easily be deemed unfair taxation on any other product. 

It was too easy to continually slap more of the tax burden on smokers under the “guidance” of the burgeoning medical industrial complex.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cigarette prices are 475 percent higher in 2023 versus 1997.

Imagine if your favorite drive-thru cheeseburger meal went through the same ridiculous, government-inflicted, price gouging?

“I’ll have the No. 1 with a Coke, please.” 

“That’ll be 35 bucks.”

You’d freak out.

What freaks me out is just who is ruining the world with a lawnmower?

I don’t know about you, but I might burn 10 gallons of gasoline running my lawnmower over the course of the summer and that’s a high estimate with an ideal growing season.

Democratic state reps Newton and Edelson, along with house speaker Melissa Hortman, seem to think my lawn mowing is “unchecked climate pollution.”

Their rhetoric is the only unchecked climate pollution I smell and consistently, the people really pushing over-the-top green agendas are proven to be the worst in terms of carbon footprints. 

I’d welcome a side-by-side comparison of my annual carbon footprint compared to the two authors of bill HF1715. I guarantee you it’s not even close. 

Mowing the lawn while your kid is at hockey camp and God forbid you drive your non-electric vehicle to pick him or her up—that’s ruining the planet. That’s nearly the same shame that was thrown at smokers in 2007. Everyone is dying because of you.

The real “unchecked climate pollution” in this state and the world is the outrageous hypocrisy from this new breed of “environmental” politician or worse, their millionaire and billionaire blabbermouth backers. 

I’m pro-planet, by the way. I frequently feature sustainable farmers around our area and the unique ways they benefit their neighbors and the planet.

Another of Rep. Jay’s strongly-made comments on Monday was that this kind of legislation will drive customers out of Minnesota and to the borders. 

You want a gas lawnmower spring of 2025? 

Drive to Fargo.

Ask any smoker where the best place to buy a carton of cigarettes is in Minnesota.

Yeah, they’ll tell you the same. Fargo.