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Gun store owner to seek Dist. 27A office

Hart Bros. Weaponry co-owner Milan Hart on Wednesday announced his intent to run for the office of House District 27A representative next year.

Hart, 60, has lived just south of Albert Lea for 40 years and has owned his business with his wife, Elaine, for 39. During part of that time he also worked at now-closed foundry Progress Casting before retiring early after 20 years to focus on his business.

Milan Hart

Milan Hart

“I’m unhappy with the way things are being run,” said Hart, a Republican, about why he decided to seek office.

The seat is presently held by Rep. Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells.

Hart said his top three concerns are taxes, education and protecting the country’s farmers.

“Minnesotans cannot withstand a single extra tax,” he said.

He said Minnesota is one of the highest-taxed states in the nation and cited a statistic that one out of every eight children who graduate in the country can’t read.

“We can never become a productive nation again unless we’re an education nation first,” Hart said.

Statewide, he said he thinks lawmakers need to stop making rules and regulations that hurt businesses and instead focus on how to keep and attract new jobs to the area. He suggested having a panel of business owners who could tell how ideas and regulations would hurt or help their businesses.

On the issue of gun regulation, Hart said there are already hundreds of laws on the books and there don’t need to be more that can’t be enforced.

He said he wants to be a voice for people age 40 and younger and wants to make it simple and affordable for people to immigrate into the country.

“I care greatly about the community and about people,” he said.

He said he recognized the importance of the District 27A election last year, and he is committed to running a clean race.

Hart, a Vietnam War veteran, gained recognition earlier this year when he and his wife announced they were surrendering their federal firearms license because of what they described as paperwork mistakes.

Before that happened, Hart said he was the highest volume independent gun dealer in Minnesota, selling between 5,000 and 7,000 guns a year. Some guns are still for sale in the shop, but once those in stock are sold, the company cannot receive wholesale firearms and sell them as retail. They intend to continue to sell parts and antique weapons, to make repairs and to offer appraisals.

Shannon Savick

Shannon Savick

Hart and his wife have two sons and four grandchildren.

Outside of his business, he said he is active in Freemasonry and is a part of a Shriners Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ducks Unlimited and Freeborn County Pheasants Forever, among others.

Savick said though she does not know Hart, she looked forward to competing against him in the upcoming election. She said she disagreed with some of his concerns.

She said farmers are facing higher taxes because of the high value of farmland — something she said the state does not have the power to change.

Regarding regulations for businesses, she said she doesn’t think regulations are bad but that sometimes it is how they are implemented that needs to be fixed.

“We need to simplify the regulations and make sure that people in business understand them and make sure they are easy to implement,” Savick said.