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Candidate Ratings 2014

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Candidate: Matthew Kowalski
GOCRA Gun Rights Grade:
Based on candidate questionnaire (or lack thereof) only
Please read about our grading scale
District 54A
Incumbent No
Party R
GOCRA notes
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2013-2014 record:
Completed 2014 Candidate Questionnaire? Yes
Co-Authored CRIMINAL control legislation
in 2013/2014 (HF1325)
GOCRA supported this legislation
Authored gun control legislation
in 2013/2014
Gun show background check
Committee vote (HF285 2013)
GOCRA opposed this bill
Previous record:
Gun Rights Voting Record (as of 2012) none available
2012 Candidate Questionnaire grade none available
2014 Candidate Questionnaire
2014 Questionnaire grade
This is not necessarily the candidate's overall grade - just the grade for these questions
Please note that a "perfect" questionnaire results in a grade of A-.
A- (100%)
This is not necessarily the candidate's overall grade - just the grade for these questions
Our Question Candidate's Answer
Do you believe that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual, or a collective right to possess, carry, and use firearms? It's a individual right
You own your life, therefore, you should be free to defend your own life.
In some states, legislation has been proposed to implement micro-stamping of bullets and casings: the gunís firing pin and/or chamber would imprint a tiny serial number on each round fired. The state of California has recently passed such a law. If elected, would you vote for similar legislation in Minnesota? No
Unlike 44 other states, the Minnesota Constitution does not contain a right to keep and bear arms. If elected, would you vote for such an amendment? Yes
If elected, would you vote for legislation to ban the possession and/or transfer of assault weapons in MInnesota? No
If elected, would you vote in favor of a ban on the manufacture of firearm magazines holding more than a certain number of rounds? No
If elected, would you vote to ban the possession, and/or transfer, of firearm magazines holding more than a certain number of rounds? No
In 2013, hearings were held in the Minnesota House Public Safety Committee for a bill that would require that all firearms transfers (both purchases or loans) be conducted by a licensed firearm dealer after completion of a background check. If elected, would you vote in favor of such legislation in Minnesota? No
Firearm owner licensing is a system in which private citizens are required to obtain permission from a government agency to buy and/or possess a firearm. Licensing requirements may include fingerprinting, mandatory safety or proficiency training, fees, and/or a demonstration of need. Do you support or oppose state firearm licensing for civilian ownership of firearms? I oppose licensing for firearms ownership
If the government does not own a person's body, then he/she should not need the government's permission to defend his/her body.
Firearm registration is a system by which a government agency maintains immediately-accessible records of the specific firearms, by make, model, and serial number, owned by individual citizens. Such registration systems often include fees and/or taxes, renewal requirements, storage requirements, reporting requirements concerning transfers, enforced by criminal penalties and forfeitures. New York, for example, has declared certain types and models of firearms, retroactively, as banned "assault weapons." Current federal law prohibits the creation of a federal firearms registration system. Minnesota does not have a firearms registration system in place. Do you support or oppose firearm registration through state law? I am opposed to registration
Online purchase of ammunition is currently legal under federal law and under the laws of nearly every state, including Minnesota. Recently in Congress, attempts have been made to prohibit or restrict the purchase of ammunition via the Internet. Such laws would also require retailers to report to law enforcement authorities bulk purchases of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Do you support controls on the bulk purchase of ammunition online or in person? No
Minnesota law currently requires a separate state background check, conducted by law enforcement, and taking a week or more, before a citizen is allowed to purchase a pistol or certain military-pattern rifles from a federally licensed firearms dealer (MN 624.7131), even though the dealer is required to complete a redundant, instant, federal background check (NICS). If elected, would you vote for a bill to repeal this redundant impediment? Yes
Ownership, possession, and criminal use of firearms by mentally disturbed individuals is a current topic of discussion and controversy, based on some horrific events involving a few severely deranged individuals. How do you feel we can best address this issue while still protecting constitutional rights, including due process and equal protection? More people takings steps to defend and protect themselves and their neighbors would be a good deterrent to the actions of deranged individuals. Statistics show that when more people concealed carry, crime/murder goes down. We will always have mentally unstable people and evil people that will want to harm others. Legislation will not fix that, nor will it fix it if a mentally unstable person obtains a gun illegally and then commits a crime.
In 2012, the Minnesota House and Senate passed a bill to implement "Stand Your Ground", which would have allowed law-abiding citizens to protect their lives with deadly force anywhere on their property or in public (Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011). If elected, will you vote for this or a similar bill? Yes
If your life is threatened, you should be able to defend it.
Federal law requires a $200 tax and an FBI background check prior to purchasing a firearm sound suppressor (inaccurately called a "silencer"). No civilian, anywhere in the country, has ever been convicted of a serious crime involving a suppressor. Thirty-nine states now allow citizens to own and use suppressors. Minnesota bans suppressors except for use by law enforcement and the military. If elected, would you vote for the repeal of this prohibition? Yes
In the 1990s, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) selected a firearm safety program for Minnesota schools, but it was never implemented. Do you support an age-appropriate firearm safety program for K-12 schools? No
Training young people in firearm safety is a great thing, but the government is not needed to implement it. Another government program is not the answer.
Do you support the current shall-issue permit system or a need-only permit system for law-abiding citizens? I support the current shall-issue permit system
See question #25 - what is the need for a permit? (I am not familiar with a need-only system and what that entails)
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides for the "right to keep and bear arms." Currently, a permit is required to exercise the right to bear arms in Minnesota. Many states have implemented a system known as "Constitutional Carry" where law-abiding citizens may carry a firearm without the need for a permit. Those disqualified from owning or carrying a firearm would still be disqualified from carrying a firearm and would face penalties for doing so. If elected, would you vote to implement Constitutional Carry in Minnesota? Yes, I would vote in favor of constitutional carry
Minnesota law (MN 624.714) currently requires the Commissioner of Public Safety to annually review and publish a list of states with laws that are not "substantially similar" to Minnesota's Permit to Carry statute. Permits from states that are not on this list are honored in Minnesota. In practice, this statute has been interpreted in an overly restrictive manner by the Commissioner of Public Safety, substantially restricting the states in which Minnesota permit holders are able to legally carry a firearm. If elected, would you vote for legislation to resolve this issue? Yes
What kind of new gun laws (restrictive or non-restrictive), if any, would you like to see enacted? Constitutional carry - why do people need permission to defend themselves?
What kind of existing gun laws, if any, would you like to see repealed? I would want to see a list of examples.
Is there anything else that you would like GOCRA and MNGOPAC to consider when reviewing your survey answers? You may enter anything you like - but please be specific and include links if you reference articles, press releases, legislation, etc. If you have previously made statements that may have been misconstrued on this subject, please provide explanatory text here. Freedom works better than control:

About Our Grading Scale

We're tough graders.

Without a voting record, even candidates who "talk the talk" perfectly will only receive an A-. That's not a slam, at all. We fully expect these candidates to "walk the walk" in the near future.

Still, A grades are reserved for proven pro-rights candidates -- candidates whose actions, in the legislature or elsewhere -- match their words.

A+ grades are reserved for superstars: gun rights leaders who go beyond saying the right things and voting the right way -- leaders who push the envelope, stand up for what's right, and bring others along with them.

Our grading scale:

A+ Leads the way for gun owners and sportsmen in Minnesota (very few qualify for this grade).
A stalwart supporter of Minnesota gun owners and sportsmen.
Can be expected to usually support Minnesota gun rights.
Not necessarily a passing grade. Indicates a mixed record and/or mixed or weak statements on key issues.
Often, but not always, votes and speaks against Second Amendment rights.
F Hostile to Second Amendment civil rights.
F (Provisional) May be hostile to Minnesotans' gun rights: did not complete the GOCRA candidate questionnaire. Our experience is that candidates who do not return surveys may be hiding their positions, and often vote against gun owners.

Primary Results

Candidates with crossed out information were eliminated in the primary election on August 12.

Party abbreviations:

DFL: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
R: Republican
CP: Constitution Party
IP: Independence Party
GLC: Grassroots - Legalize Cannabis Party
GP: Green Party
LMN: Legal Marijuana Now
LP: Libertarian Party