Ensuring peace officers have all available tools to keep the public safe is the goal of a bill proffered by Rep. Matt Grossell (R-Clearbrook).
He sponsors HF3611, which states “a mayor, city council, county board, or chief law enforcement officer may not disarm a peace officer who is in good standing and not currently under investigation or subject to disciplinary action.”
Passed 126-0 by the House Wednesday, the bill goes to the Senate where Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) is the sponsor.
“In order for our law enforcement to be able to protect themselves, and, in turn, protect your families and mine, I believe we must give them all the tools that are necessary to do their job,” Grossell said.
The bill would not prohibit a peace officer from choosing not to carry a gun.
Rep. Raymond Dehn (DFL-Mpls) suggested officers could sometimes go without a sidearm at their hip. “I’m not saying cops should never carry guns. … I also believe that there are situations where a cop is carrying a firearm that gets in the way of an interaction.”
As an example, Dehn said an officer mingling with the public on National Night Out could leave his or her firearm in their squad car that might be 10-, 15- or 20-feet away from where a discussion on safety occurs.
Grossell cited his own experience to disagree.
In the incident where he was shot in the line of duty, he said that neither he nor his partner would have had time to run back to their vehicle to retrieve a firearm.
“Police will enter a situation that may seem benign when they roll up to that situation, and if they were to be disarmed … they could lose their life,” said Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia). “They would be recalcitrant in their job if they went unarmed, and they would be a liability to those that they are there to protect and themselves by not being able to defend themselves.”
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