BEMIDJI - The Beltrami County Republicans held their annual convention Saturday, voting for candidates to represent them at higher-level conventions as well as debating proposed changes to the state party platform.

Two controversial social issues were up first during the platform-change phase of the convention as delegates voted on measures concerning abortion and gun control. The first resolution was to strike out the paragraph on abortion and replace it with one sentence: “We as Republicans support the dignity of life from conception to natural death.”

Dave Hancock, running for the state House of Representatives, spoke out in favor of the change. A more general statement of position on abortion allows space for people who support exceptions to a ban on abortion in the event of rape or incest, he said.

“While I continue to support life from conception to natural death, I think this simple statement allows people that may differ slightly on those modifications concerning rape and incest,” he said. “Let’s all work together to preserve and protect all human life.”

Other delegates opposed the change as making the language too vague, and the resolution was voted down.

The next resolution called for a harder stance in opposition to gun control by adding language opposed to the entire gun permitting process and any future federal gun control law.

“All law-abiding citizens should have the right to purchase, possess and carry firearms free from any federal, state or local gun registration system, and without having to first obtain a government-issued permit or permission slip,” the proposed language read. “We support legislation prohibiting gun confiscation during a state of emergency and prohibiting enforcement of all future anti-gun federal laws, executive orders, regulations and mandates.”

The resolution passed, despite Hancock’s opposition. He was instead in favor of a Second Amendment-style addition to the Minnesota Constitution.

Convention-goers also voted on “general resolutions,” that is, statements of opinion as opposed to specific changes to the platform.

“We hereby renounce democracy and the democratic form of government and reaffirm the Republic and the republican form of government given to us by the people and our founding fathers,” read one. “We are are a democracy only to the extent that the majority elects representation.”

The resolution passed with no one speaking against it.

Another resolution approved by the convention declared as “null and void” the Affordable Care Act and all education and welfare legislation “as there is no constitutional authority given to Congress to deal with these issues.” Originally, the resolution also declared all “1000-plus executive orders of President Obama” as well as all previous executive orders to be void, However, that section was scrapped after convention-goers pointed out that Obama had actually only authored about 150 executive orders and the nullification of all executive orders in America’s history could be interpreted to include the Emancipation Proclamation and the order to desegregate the U.S. military.

Delegates elected to represent Beltrami County at the Seventh Congressional District Republican Convention included: William Batchelder, Adam Bommersbach, Abbigail Cobb, Kenneth Cobb, David Goetz, Roger Heger, Heidi Johnson, Angela Krigbaum and Henry Krigbaum.

Delegates elected to the Eighth Congressional District Convention included: Caleb Gazelka, Dave Hancock, Patricia Hancock, Kathleen Molitor, Walter Pagel, Claude Sand and Barbara Zentek.