SAINT PAUL, Minn. — DFL members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today repeated their call for Senate Republicans to consider two bills to prevent gun violence in Minnesota communities. Judiciary Committee members include minority lead Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-Saint Paul.
Sen. Latz introduced two bills in January that would, if passed, help keep firearms out of the hands of people who are proven dangerous to themselves or others. The first bill would allow law enforcement to seek a court order temporarily prohibiting a person’s access to guns when they pose a danger to themselves or others. The second bill would extend criminal background checks to most private sales, gun show markets, and online transactions in order to screen out violent, ineligible buyers.
“Today’s hearing on Minnesota’s current gun laws will provide further evidence that these laws are inadequate in separating violent people from obtaining and possessing firearms,” said Sen. Latz. “The two bills that I proposed years ago will close the gaps where current gun laws are insufficient. These bills will reduce gun violence without infringing on an individual’s Second Amendment rights.”
Under current law, Minnesotans routinely complete background checks for the transfers of pistols and semiautomatic military-style assault weapons from dealers. The first Latz bill would extend the background check for the transfer of those firearms between almost all private parties.
“The Minnesota Senate DFL is committed to working together to build the safer state all Minnesotans deserve, and that includes holding hearings on gun violence prevention. Senate Republicans are holding ‘public safety’ hearings because they claim they are concerned about increased violence in Minnesota, but they refuse to even consider any plans to keep firearms out of the hands of people at risk of violence. More than nine out of 10 people in Minnesota support background checks, yet Senate Republicans ignore this important statistic and the will of the people. This extreme obstructionism cuts the public out of the entire legislative process. Minnesotans deserve open and honest public hearings, and legislators deserve to hear from their constituents,” said Sen. Dziedzic.
In a nationwide study from 2009 to 2016, roughly 42% of mass shootings produced documentation that the attacker displayed dangerous warning signs before shooting. The second Latz bill would equip law enforcement and family members with necessary tools to step in before warning signs spiral into tragedies.
“As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I am committed to a conversation focused on gun violence prevention that keeps all Minnesotans safe. Senate Republicans have refused to hear any gun safety bills – even Extreme Risk Protection Orders – which are a proven and effective way to prevent temporary crises from becoming permanent tragedies. These are common-sense gun safety measures we can work on together to make our families, communities, and Minnesota safer,” said Sen. Pappas.
The House companions to both Latz bills were heard last session in several House committees. They each received public testimony and debate from House members. Neither bill had a public hearing in the Republican-controlled Senate.