Wardlow Shows True Colors on Gun Safety, Reverses Support for Background Checks and Accepts NRA Donations

Ellison has been a longtime advocate for common sense gun safety reforms, and will support efforts to reduce gun violence as Attorney General

MINNESOTA – Congressman Keith Ellison and gun safety advocates today called out Republican Attorney General Candidate Doug Wardlow for flip-flopping in his support for criminal background checks on all gun sales in Minnesota. Not only has Wardlow lied about his support for this common sense provision, his latest campaign finance report reveals that he did so while accepting campaign donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“While 90 percent of Minnesotans rightly support common sense gun safety measures like criminal background checks, Doug Wardlow backed down as soon as the gun lobby came calling,” said Ellison. “After the tragic events of this last weekend, Minnesotans understand better than ever the need to elect a strong advocate who will protect the safety of all Minnesotans as Attorney General.”

During the KSTP Attorney General debate last Sunday, Wardlow was asked whether he would support criminal background checks on all gun sales, to which he replied: “Yes I would.” Then, this past Saturday, on the same day as a tragic and deadly act of gun violence, Wardlow backed away from this position, saying that he “absolutely [does] not support background checks for private sales" and he “[does not] support any new gun laws.”

“Minnesotans understand the need for reasonable measures that will keep everyone safe from gun violence,” said Rev. Nancy Nord Bence with the Protect Minnesota Political Action Fund. “With ongoing efforts at the federal level to erode the right of states to pass common sense gun laws, we need a strong leader like Keith Ellison in the Attorney General’s Office who will champion gun reform in Minnesota.”

Not only did Wardlow reverse his position on criminal background checks for all gun sales, his latest campaign finance reports reveal that he has accepted $2,000 in campaign contributions from the NRA, who have been staunchly opposed to any reasonable reforms to reduce preventable gun violence in Minnesota and throughout the nation.

“Young Minnesotans rank gun safety their number one concern in this election, because we have seen the awful effects gun violence has had on our peers,” said Isra Hirsi, high school gun safety advocate. “This November, we will reject politicians who put paychecks from special interests before the value of our lives, and will support leaders like Keith Ellison who stand with us to reduce gun violence in our society.”

In contrast to Wardlow’s support from the NRA, Ellison’s support for common sense measures to reduce gun violence has earned him the distinction of both Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and Protect Minnesota.

“Last session, in the face of national tragedy, Minnesota Republicans blocked votes on common sense gun safety measures,” said State Senator Ron Latz. “Minnesotans need elected officials who -- like the strong majority of Minnesotans -- will stand up to the gun lobby and prioritize the safety of Minnesotans, not politicians like Doug Wardlow who will stand in the way of the change we need and will tell the public one thing and the gun lobby something else.”

As Attorney General, Keith Ellison will defend Minnesota’s laws by standing with the Attorneys General of 17 other states to fight bad federal legislation that would undermine Minnesota’s ability to establish and enforce our state gun safety measures.

Ellison will also advocate for laws that require universal background checks for gun sales, a ban of the sale of assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and by keeping guns out of the hands of people who pose a risk to themselves or to others, including domestic violence offenders.