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Legislative Update (2-27-20)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

House Democrats have been sitting on two anti-gun bills since last spring and this afternoon plan to ram them through to the House floor with little to no public awareness. 

I support the Second Amendment as much as anyone and strongly oppose both anti-gun bills because they violate the rights of law-abiding gun owners and cut out due process.

Both bills have bipartisan opposition. As a refresher, here are summaries of each, including some information I provided in a previous email:

Background Check Bill (HF8): While supporters of this bill claim this is about background checks for gun purchases, this bill creates new regulations that will prevent routine transfers between friends and family. In addition, permits to purchase would be limited to one firearm every 30 days, effectively creating a state level gun registry.

Studies show the vast majority of criminally acquired guns are obtained from illegal sources. California enacted a universal background check and a study conducted by UC-Davis found no changes in firearm homicide or suicide rates 10 years later.

We don’t need this bill. The bottom line is criminals aren’t pulling granddaddy’s gun off the mantle to perpetrate violence. Our state already conducts background checks and this bill would only serve to create more bureaucratic hurdles for law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment Rights.

There was an interesting sidebar to this bill on this week (Monday, Feb. 24 2020) when House Democrats conducted a social media poll (see below). While we should take these online polls with a grain of salt, the vote was extremely lopsided against them: NEARLY 90% OPPOSE UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS! They pulled down their poll within hours of it being posted.

Online poll shows opposition to gun bills

Red Flag Bill (HF9): Democrats have highlighted the need for a red flag law to "temporarily" seize guns from people perceived to be a threat to themselves or others. This bill violates due process and will not stop those who are intent on doing harm to others.

We have laws in place to remove guns from people who may be considered threats to themselves or others. Those going through mental crises can be placed on a 72-hour emergency hold for medical evaluation and potential commitment for further treatment. In cases of domestic violence, Minnesota statute currently directs officers to make an arrest if they believe that domestic violence has occurred in the preceding 72 hours or if the person poses a threat to the alleged victim.

While I oppose these bills on general principles, it also is concerning that such an important issue is coming to the floor with practically no public awareness. Democrats parked both bills near the end of the committee process last year, meaning they had a head start to the House floor this year with preliminary hearings already in the books. This resulted in limited time and short notice for public input in 2020.

Neither of these bills made it to the floor as stand-alone proposals last year but were defeated as provisions in an omnibus bill. With their majority in the House, Democrats can pass their anti-gun bills regardless of Republican opposition. It is good to know we have a backstop in the form of Senate Republicans, who have declared these bills non-starters in that body.

-Steve

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