Gun control bills unveiled at state legislature

January 24, 2019 06:45 PM

Lawmakers at the state legislature are debating a "red flag" law that would impact whether or not loved ones have a say in deciding if an individual can keep their firearm.

It is meant to be applied in situations when an individual is determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

Such a law could work on two pathways, either a family member could obtain a court order, or law enforcement could take the initiative on its own.

RELATED: Democratic gains raise odds for gun control in Minnesota

The bill was one of two introduced by DFL Senator Ron Latz Thursday. The other was a bill that would require background checks before most gun sales in Minnesota

"If you are a law-abiding gun owner, and you don't have a prohibitive criminal history, you really have nothing to worry about from these bills," he said. 

RELATED: Should social media check be required to get a gun license?

But Rob Doar, the political director of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, disagreed.

"Under no circumstances should we be supporting laws that allow property to be seized, especially property that's guaranteed to protect us under the Second Amendment, without due process of law."

Doar also disputed whether expanded background checks will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

"The vast majority of them are getting them through straw purchases, black market and theft, and this bill isn't going to address any of those issues," Doar said at an event where the Gun Owners Caucus was passing out information down the hall from where Latz was holding a news conference about his legislation.

Minnesota would join only a handful of states if it were to pass universal background check and red flag gun laws.

The states shown in blue currently have laws that require universal background checks for all firearm purchases. The states in red have enacted red flag laws that allow for court orders to be issued, temporarily removing an individual's guns if they pose a danger to themselves or others.  

The states in yellow stripes currently have both laws.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka addressed the gun owners.

He stopped short of being able to guarantee he could block gun legislation they don't like with a slim Republican majority, but he said the Latz legislation might be difficult to pass.

"His agenda is for there to be far more gun restrictions than we think is even reasonable," Gazelka said.

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Tom Hauser

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