Legislation to Strengthen Straw Purchase Penalties Passes Minnesota Senate  

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Today, May 9, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation to strengthen Minnesota’s straw purchase statute, authored by Senator Heather Gustafson (DFL – Vadnais Heights). 

The legislation makes changes to the definitions of straw purchases, applicable penalties, and amends the definition of trigger activators. Provisions include:

  • Expands the definition of straw purchase to include all firearms. Current law bans straw purchases for only pistols and semiautomatic military-style assault weapons.
  • Amends the mental status required to prove this crime to include cases where the person making the transfer “should have known” that the person receiving the firearm was ineligible to receive the firearm.
  • Increases the penalty for a transfer to an ineligible person from a gross misdemeanor to a felony and increases the maximum fine for an aggravated violation.
  • Expands the definition of trigger activator to include binary triggers. Binary triggers allow a firearm to shoot one shot on the pull of the trigger and a second shot on its release without requiring a subsequent pull.
  • Establishing an affirmative defense for individuals who were forced or coerced into a straw purchase for fear of their or loved ones’ lives or safety. 

“The bill we passed today will help save lives and make our communities and law enforcement safer,” said Sen. Gustafson. “This bill closes loopholes within current laws in order to hold offenders accountable. Every day, 120 people in the US are killed by guns. Twice as many are shot and wounded, and countless others are impacted by acts of gun violence. 

“I am grateful for the input and guidance of law enforcement, victims organizations, community members and colleagues who helped craft this legislation to accomplish our goals of reducing gun violence in our communities. The bill we passed today will save the lives of law enforcement and community members. 

The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 34-33. It awaits concurrence or a conference committee with the House. 

Senator Heather Gustafson represents Senate District 36 which includes Centerville, Circle Pines, Lino Lakes, North Oaks, Vadnais Heights, and White Bear Lake. She is vice chair of the Education Finance Committee, and serves on the Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development Committee and the Jobs and Economic Development Committee.

Learn more about Sen. Gustafson.
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