On Wednesday, the House Public Safety Committee heard two bills that seek to address the problem of gun violence. Instead of getting to the root of the problem, I’m concerned that these bills will do little to stop gun violence and instead will place undue burdens on law-abiding gun owners.
The first bill, House File 8, imposes several new requirements and restrictions on the transfer of all firearms including shotguns and rifles.
More specifically, it raises the legal age to purchase any firearm to 21, allows only one firearm purchase per/permit to purchase (which expires after 30 days), and creates a new record of transfer between private parties and a transfer form that must be kept in perpetuity. Thus, effectively creating a gun registry.
While proponents of the bill claim that the legislation will prevent gun violence, ultimately the bill creates new burdens for what used to be very routine transfers between friends for hunting purposes or trap shooting and could inadvertently turn people into criminals if they don't follow the exact processes laid out in the bill.
The bottom line is that this bill would create strict new hurdles and barriers for law-abiding Minnesotans seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights, and will do little to stop the criminals who don't follow the law today and won't follow this complex new process.
The second bill, House File 9, creates an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” process that would give individuals the ability to file a petition with the courts to have someone’s firearms seized by law enforcement if they are deemed a risk to themselves or to others.
This bill, while it sounds reasonable on its face, ultimately violates due process for gun owners and will not stop those that are intent on doing harm to others. In fact, the bill allows for an “ex-parte” hearing to determine if the individual is a “danger”. This means that a court hearing can take place with only one party in attendance—leaving the other person without a chance to share their side of the story until after the order has been served by law enforcement.
Further, the bill allows guns to be seized by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the person is a danger to themselves or others. This is a significantly low legal standard that opens the door for abuse. In order to reclaim seized firearms, individuals are required to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that they are not a danger. This legal standard is significantly higher and creates an undue and unfair burden for the accused. To put in simpler terms, the bill effectively treats people as guilty until proven innocent.
Seizure of property without a warrant is a civil rights violation and sadly no other constitutionally guaranteed right is treated with as much disregard as the right to keep and bear arms.
As for myself, I am not supportive of either of these bills as they create undue burdens on law-abiding gun owners and make a mockery of due process.
It was great to meet with students from the Staples-Motley FFA!
I appreciate former Rep. Bruce Nelson and his friends and family for coming to St. Paul this week to support legislation I am carrying that would require insurance coverage for the treatment of ectodermal dysplasias.
It was good to visit with Jami Trenam and Karen Pundsack from the Great River Regional Library system regarding our local libraries. Thanks for stopping by!
That’s all for this week’s update. I will have more for you as the session progresses as it’s sure to be a busy year. In the meantime, I urge you to contact me if you have any legislative questions, concerns, or ideas. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5356 or via email email@example.com.
Have a good weekend,