Short takes for Feb. 8

Sorry, LaPierre, let’s bring on the background checks

THUMBS DOWN: We take issue with what Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association executive vice president, said about background checks and how they would be a burden to law-abiding gun buyers. We think those law-abiding gun buyers can learn to deal with more stringent background checks. LaPierre doesn’t like the idea of extending current laws to private sales between hobbyists and collectors. With all due respect, Mr. LaPierre, quit standing in the way of potential progress when it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. What harm would it do to extend new/current laws to the collectors? It’s too easy for a collector to buy a gun in a private deal, plain and simple. As it is now, someone who wants to privately buy a gun can do so, no questions – at least make them pass a background check.

A?salute to Lew

THUMBS UP: We salute longtime SMSU wheelchair basketball coach Lew Shaver, who recently announced his immediate retirement. SMSU has long been known for its handicap-friendly campus, and it was Shaver who started the wheelchair basketball program way back in 1969. Shaver did more than lay the groundwork for the program, as his teams brought three national championships to Marshall.

Dance team success

THUMBS UP: Congratulations to the Marshall High School dance team, which is headed to state competition after sweeping high kick and jazz at sectionals. Whether or not you categorize dance as a sport, no one can deny these performers have legitimate athleticism and talent; it’s nice to see all their hard work pay off once again. Also, best of luck to the area Class A dance teams competing at sections this weekend.

Sunday booze here we go again

SIDEWAYS THUMBS: Once again, the state Legislature is taking up Sunday liquor sales. Yes, here we go again. The author of the bill admits it might have trouble getting approved this year, as it has in the past; we wish they would just pass it already – if nothing else to avoid having it come up again in 2014. The bill would make it legal to sell liquor on Sundays like all of our neighboring states do, and it would give store owners the option to do so. We give the legislation itself a “thumbs up,” but for purposes of this space, it gets a “sideways thumbs” because we don’t like the fact that the Legislature puts itself in front of this particular drawing board seemingly every session. While it might need a few tweaks, it’s a good, common-sense proposal, and there are no losers in the scenario, only winners – especially the cities near borders whose residents leave Minnesota to spend their money. As long as stores are given the option to be open, we don’t see much wrong with this legislation. Just pass the thing and get it over with so we don’t have to talk about it again next year.

Worry about your own state

THUMBS DOWN: Pretty shifty move, Wisconsin Rep. Erik Severson, sending letters to the hundreds of Minnesota businesses, including the state’s largest employers, urging them to relocate to Wisconsin to avoid higher taxes in light of Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget plan. Shifty, and kind of slimy, too. We wonder how much politics played a part in Severson’s action – he’s a Republican, Dayton’s a Democrat – which comes across as a desperate move to improve the economy in his home state. Would he have done this if Minnesota was under the watch of a Republican governor? Highly doubtful. Dayton’s right: Severson needs to worry about his own state.

Auditor/treasurer decision

THUMBS UP: We support Lyon County’s decision to pursue legislation that will make the auditor/treasurer position an appointed one, rather than an elected one. As county board chairman Rick Anderson said Tuesday night, the board is seeking to make the position more “professional” and less “political.” We should have faith in our elected officials who make up county boards to thoroughly vet the candidates and hire the best one for the position. If they fail in this regard, we know whom to hold accountable.