Tom Hackbarth is from Cedar, Minnesota and is a veteran member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district he represents is just north of where I live (I’m near 113th and the southern border of Hackbarth’s district is 181st) and overlaps with Michele Bachmann’s congressional district. Hackbarth is a Republican and has been re-elected to represent this district a number of times. With the Republicans taking over the Minnesota house this year, he is the new chair of the Environment and Natural resources Committee. And, when asked by reporters from our local TV station what he was doing behind the planned parenthood building after hours with a map of the neighborhood, a pair of binoculars, and a loaded gun, his reply was:
Here’s what happened. Hackbarth was spotted in security cameras changing jackets, and that’s how the security people saw the gun strapped to his belt. The called Saint Paul police (this was the clinic in the Highland Park neighborhood, which is a very different place than Hackbarth’s district) who arrived on the scene shortly, spotting Hackbarth at a nearby intersection. They busted him, took his gun, and let him go. This happened several days ago, and yesterday he came by the police headquarters to pick up the pistol. For some reason that is when the story broke.
Hackbarth told the police that he had a girlfriend. They had only seen each other a couple of times, having met on line. He did not have a phone number or email address for her since they had only communicated via the dating web site. He had reason to suspect, he told police, that she was seeing another man, and had come down to Highland Park to spy on her in order to see whether or not he was being lied to.
A guy from up ’round Bethel or Elk Lake would need a map to find his way to and around Highland Park. The binoculars make sense if you are going to spy on someone. The pistol … well, he carries that all the time, and he does have a permit for it. Why park in Planned Parenthood’s lot? Well, it was just an empty lot and he needed to stop somewhere for a few minutes, to change his jacket and stuff. Why the second clip of ammo for a different caliber gun, also found in his pickup truck? I’m not sure that question has been asked.
The whole situation is just a little strange. Was he staking out the Planned Parenthood facility for some terroristic reason? The police thought that a possibility, that’s why they took the gun. Was he stalking a woman whom he barely knew? Well, either his story indicates that he was, or his story is a rather lame excuse for why he was in the Planned Parenthood lot. The police also thought he was a bit “stalky” … another reason to interview him and take his firearm.
And the Republican Leadership in the Minnesota House also think this is a bit strange, and have suspended Hackbarth’s planned and current leadership roles until this is all figured out.
The police claim that Hackbarth indicated he was jealous of another man dating his ‘girlfriend,’ but he denied that to the press. The police state that he appeared angry and dangerous at the truck they stopped his truck, but Hackbarth appears to be reasonably contrite and calm when interviewed by the press. Here are some of Hackbarth’s statements to the press:
I have a permit to carry legally. I carry my gun all the time. I have never had an incident and everything is perfectly legal and above board.
We have to air our dirty laundry? My wife and I are going through a divorce we are separated. We’ve been separated for about a year and a half now.
She [his alleged girlfriend] gave me some line of baloney, and I thought, ‘well, she’s fibbing to me.’ You could tell, and I thought, ‘well, I’m going to check it out.’ and I went there to see if she was around and her vehicle was not there. And I was just checking on her.
Hackbarth has a routinely Republican voting record (against study of iron range miner’s cancer, against the bonding bill which mainly benefits the University and various educational facilities, against stem cell research, against abortion and choice) except in a couple of interesting areas. Republican leaders voted for K-12 background checks for coaches, Hackbarth voted against that, and voted against a bill that would have pulled the state out of a federal ID program, while Republican leaders seem to have supported that initiative (so he’s for a federal ID)*.
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- Minnesota legislator stopped with gun near abortion clinic suspended from leadership position
- Rep. Tom Hackbarth’s loaded gun seized by cops near Planned Parenthood
- State Rep. Caught with Loaded Gun on Planned Parenthood Property