2 gun control bills fail at the Minnesota Capitol, as Republican majority proves too strong

The bills would have expanded background checks and allowed families to prohibit a loved one from possessing a gun.
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The bills would have expanded background checks and allowed families to prohibit a loved one from possessing a gun.

What's happening?

The State Capitol was thronged with anti-gun violence activists and 2nd Amendment supporters as Minnesota lawmakers discussed two gun control bills on Thursday.

The shooting in Florida has seen widespread calls for restrictions on gun possession and expansions of background checks nationwide, which has been met with opposition from gun rights groups.

It comes after Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul) used what MPR reports is an "obscure parliamentary rule" to force a committee hearing and vote on both bills.

Despite the heavy presence of protesters, the Republican majority in the House's public safety committee ensured both failed to pass.

What were the bills?

The first would have expanded background checks so that they applied to private gun sales.

Any transaction in which a background check from a federally-licensed firearms dealer was not obtained would be a gross misdemeanor, and a felony for a second offense.

You can read the full bill here.

The bill isn't completely dead, but it has been "set aside without a vote to advance or defeat" after a vote of 9-7 against at the House public safety committee.

Republican Rep. Keith Franke of St. Paul Park voted in favor of the bill, keeping it alive in the process.


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GOP Rep. Mark Uglem, in voting to table the motion, said there were good arguments on both sides of the debate, but felt it would be more prudent to wait and see what further bills are presented relating to firearms as the legislative session continues.

The second bill, which you can read here, would have allowed police and family members to ask the courts to prohibit people from possessing firearms.

That's if they're considered to "pose a significant danger to themselves or others by possessing a firearm."

It failed to pass by a vote of 10-6, meaning it's been "tabled indefinitely."

The Star Tribune reports gun rights activists argued both bills would be unconstitutional.

Is there more to come?

Another gun bill, one that goes far beyond the two that failed above, has also been proposed by House DFLers who hope to force another hearing soon, the Pioneer Press reports.

Among other things, it would phase out semi-automatic rifle ownership and make it a crime for anyone owing child support to own a gun.

It would also expand the definition of "assault weapon" to include more semi-automatic pistols, rifles and shotguns – and make possessing them a felony unless it was registered before February 2018.

The bill can be read here. With Republicans in charge of both branches of the Minnesota Legislature, it almost certainly won't go anywhere. 

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