With the help of a new Democratic majority in the Minnesota House, Gov.-elect Tim Walz is expected to renew efforts to pass gun-control legislation in the state.
In response to Wednesday night’s mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, Walz and Rep. Melissa Hortman (D-Fridley), who was elected this week to serve as House speaker, spoke to the media Thursday about addressing gun violence in Minnesota.
“We will be looking at common-sense solutions like criminal background checks on all gun sales and red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” Hortman said Thursday, according to CBS.
Walz agreed with Hortman’s sentiments, saying there “are just too many of those” in response to Wednesday’s tragedy.
“We need to try to take some actions that the science behind this shows we can make some reductions,” he said, Fox 9 reports. “Now is the time for action.”
Passing gun-control legislation won’t be easy for Democrats, though, even after taking back the House. Earlier this year, roughly 2,000 Minnesotans gathered on the steps of the State Capitol to protest gun legislation that was introduced. The rally was organized with the help of the NRA and the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, whose political director said there is “valid concern” among gun owners after Tuesday’s elections.
“I think there is a valid concern that gun owners and people who care about their right to keep and bear arms should definitely take notice,” Rob Doar told CBS.
He told The Minnesota Sun that the organization “will continue to fight them this upcoming session,” saying they’ve “been actively opposed to that legislation.”
Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Springfield), who currently serves as House speaker but will be demoted to minority leader in the new year, noted that the remaining Republicans in the House “are the rural ones now.”
“We’re the members, frankly, that are engaged in that rich tradition of hunting and gun ownership in rural Minnesota. And we want to make sure we protect the rights of Minnesotans to continue to participate in that rich tradition,” he said.
National Democrats are also planning to introduce the most aggressive gun-control measures to date, according to The Wall Street Journal, reporting that a bill requiring universal background checks will be introduced in the first weeks of the new Congress.
“This new majority is not going to be afraid of our shadow. We know that we’ve been elected to do a job, and we’re going to do it,” Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) said.
According to The Wall Street Journal, 15 Republican congressman with an “A” rating from the NRA lost their elections Tuesday and were all replaced by candidates with an “F” rating.
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