A Republican lawmaker in Minnesota will seek to raise money Saturday by offering supporters handgun training in exchange for a contribution to her re-election campaign.
For a $125 donation, supporters of state Rep. Cindy Pugh (R) will receive a one-day training course to apply for a "Minnesota Permit to Carry," better known as a "concealed carry" permit. Those who already have a permit can donate $100 for a renewal or to contribute to a "carry class scholarship" for someone who cannot afford the course. Participants are required to have experience shooting a pistol, rifle or shotgun, and must pass a criminal background check.
A flier for the event, scheduled to be held in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen, Minn., said that the one-day class will provide "everything you need to apply for your Minnesota Permit to Carry a Pistol."
Pugh told the website Watchdog Minnesota Bureau that the fundraiser is a unique way to connect with constituents.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’ve never heard of anyone doing this before and I don’t know that it has been done before,” she said. “But this is an idea that my campaign team came up with as we were brainstorming ways to connect with my voters and my constituents and just heighten awareness about issues that are important.”
Joan Peterson, a board member ofProtect Minnesota and the Brady Campaign, criticized the fundraiser.
“My concern about a legislator using a concealed and carry permit class to raise money is it’s kind of cynical in a way,” Peterson told Watchdog Minnesota Bureau. "“It’s kind of already telling people alright, I support your gun rights no matter what. I mean, I don’t know how else you could look at it.”