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Norton Unveils Comprehensive Gun Safety Bill for 2016 Session
Background Checks, Locks, Training Requirements Highlight Proposal
St. Paul, Minn. – Citing a need to reduce further gun related tragedies and improve public safety, Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) today introduced series of policy changes aimed at reducing accidental deaths, suicides and impulse shootings by implementing new safety measures.
“Without safeguards like the ones under this bill, it is only a matter of time before the next accident, injury or death caused by a gun in the wrong hands, and it is simply unacceptable to do nothing,” Norton said. “While President Obama’s executive order was a good step forward, states like Minnesota need to take action to address preventable tragedies.”
A main pillar of Norton’s bill calls for universal background checks to close loopholes in the current system, which allows sales to be made at gun shows by unlicensed dealers or at a coffee shop via web sale without a background check. She noted broad public support for this measure in arguing the bill should move forward.
“An overwhelming majority of Minnesotans of both political parties – and even a large majority of gun owners – support universal background checks,” Norton said. “A failure of the Legislature to act on an issue as common sense as this one, which ensures everyone who purchases a gun is able to pass a background check, fails the victims and families of these heartbreaking occurrences. It’s incomprehensible to me that what amounts to the minor inconvenience of requiring a background check for every gun sale or transfer is so objectionable in the wake of what’s happened.”
Beyond addressing the mass shootings that have occurred recently in Paris, San Bernardino and Colorado Springs, Norton’s bill seeks to prevent gun-related suicides by increasing the waiting period for issuance of a transfer permit from seven to 28 days. Additionally, the bill contains new training requirements for gun buyers and a safety requirement that guns be unloaded and locked prior to being stored or transferred.
Norton, entering her final session as a legislator, acknowledges there may be obstacles toward passage, but is committed to pressing ahead with what she feels her constituents and most Minnesotans will find to be a reasonable proposal.
“Supporting this bill may not be politically easy for all legislators, and I understand that,” Norton said. “Having the courage to take action to address this serious public health crisis for our society needs to be held to a higher importance than a perfect score on the NRA’s scorecard.”
The bill was pre-filed in advance of the 2016 Legislative Session, and will be officially introduced for consideration when the Legislature convenes on March 8.
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