ST. PAUL – Early Tuesday morning, House Democrats voted to approve their public safety omnibus bill (HF2792) with two highly controversial gun control bills included, expanding background checks and allowing court-ordered weapons seizures.
“Neither of the provisions will save lives because criminals don’t ask for permission to use a gun,” said Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston. “These measures would only place new government restrictions on those of us who are responsible gun owners who abide by the law and chip away at our Second Amendment rights. I strongly oppose these proposals.”
One of the measures places new burdens on gun owners and creates several new restrictive requirements, including background checks, on the private transfer of firearms. It also only allows one firearm per permit to purchase, which expires after 30 days, and imposes a requirement for private parties to keep records in perpetuity. Even transfers between friends would require individuals to pay a fee, and individuals would be guilty of a gross misdemeanor if they misplaced transfer paperwork and were unable to produce it to authorities.
The other measure implements a so-called “red-flag” law by permitting the removal of a person’s firearms if a court grants an order for an extreme risk protection order. This could be done through an ex-parte process where the accused is not present to offer a counter to the accusation, raising due process concerns among lawmakers. Under the proposal, law enforcement would be responsible for delivering the order and executing the firearm seizure without the accused knowing an accusation has been made against them.
“Our state already conducts background checks and these new layers will do more to make unwitting criminals out of friends and family than anything else,” Green said. “And the red flag proposal treats people as guilty until proven innocent, which goes against the principles of our legal system. It also puts our law enforcement in harm's way by expecting them to seize guns from people who may not even be aware they have had a seizure levied against them.”
The bill passed on a 70-64 vote with five Democrats voting against the bill, the most of any budget bill thus far in the 2019 session.