The Minnesota House Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party unveiled its first ten bills Wednesday, two of which deal with gun control, while DFLers in Congress are signing their names to a national gun-control measure.
At a Wednesday morning press conference, the state House DFL released House Files (HF) one through 10, which will become the party’s first ten bills. One of them seeks to impose universal background checks on all gun sales in Minnesota, while a second would make Minnesota a “red flag” state.
So-called “red flag” laws allow states to temporarily seize firearms from people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others. Rep. Ruth Richardson (D-Mendota Heights) is sponsoring HF 9, which plans to prevent “gun violence through Extreme Risk Protection Orders”—court orders that suspend access to firearms for Minnesotans who are a demonstrated threat.
“We’ve heard far too many stories over the last several years of shootings that could have been prevented with Extreme Risk Protection Orders. When family members or law enforcement see clear red flags, they should be able to do something about them,” Richardson said Wednesday.
Rep. Dave Pinto (D-St. Paul) is sponsoring HF 9, which will require “criminal background checks on all sales.”
“Minnesotans deserve to be safe at school, at work, and in the community,” Pinto said during Wednesday’s press conference, claiming his work as a prosecutor has convinced him of the need for universal background checks.
U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), meanwhile, announced Wednesday that he has agreed to co-sponsor HR 8 in Congress, a bill that would require universal background checks “for every firearm sale” in the nation.
“Thoughts and tweets don’t save lives; action saves lives,” Phillips tweeted Wednesday. “That’s why I cosponsored my second bill yesterday, HR 8, requiring universal background checks on all gun sales.”
Thoughts and tweets don't save lives; action saves lives. That’s why I cosponsored my second bill yesterday, #HR8, requiring universal background checks on all gun sales. And this morning, we dedicated our cloakroom in honor of @GabbyGiffords and the late Rep. Leo Ryan. #courage pic.twitter.com/oOnLPiIgc6
— Congressman Dean Phillips (@RepDeanPhillips) January 9, 2019
Ben Dorr of Minnesota Gun Rights responded to the gun-control push in a Wednesday Facebook Live video.
“This is the push for 2019. We knew it was going to be at least one bill, possibly two, and it’s two. We have both universal gun registration and red flags gun seizure legislation,” Dorr said. “We need all hands on deck to help fight this.”
Dorr went on to state that universal background checks are “nothing more than gun registry, plain and simple,” while suggesting that red-flag legislation would violate the due-process rights of Minnesota residents.
“This is outrageous. It is an absolute attack on our Second Amendment rights, our Fourth Amendment rights, our Sixth Amendment rights. It annihilates due process, which is the absolute linchpin, the cornerstone, of our entire American system of jurisprudence. It is totally antithetical to the American way,” Dorr said.
On Tuesday, the gun-control organization Moms Demand Action protested at the State Capitol on the opening day of the 2019 session to support the bills introduced by the House DFL.
“We feel very strongly Minnesotans have made it loud and clear they are ready for gun violence prevention measures, common sense reforms,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman (D-Brooklyn Park) told reporters Tuesday.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Dave Pinto” by Dave Pinto.
Background Photo “Minnesota Elected Officials” by Dean Phillips.