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With less than two weeks to go before legislators hit a deadline to pass policy proposals, DFL Rep. Deb Hilstrom and more than 70 co-sponsors in the House introduced a proposal that would increase penalties for felons convicted of possessing firearms and makes it a felony for individuals who provide false reports of stolen or lost firearms or knowingly purchase a gun for an ineligible person. The bill would also step up law enforcement collection and sharing of background check data.

House lawmakers introduce new gun proposal without universal background checks

Rep. Deb Hilstrom

A bipartisan group of legislators in the Minnesota House have introduced an 11th-hour gun proposal backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) that supporters say could pass this session.

With less than two weeks to go before legislators hit a deadline to pass policy proposals, DFL Rep. Deb Hilstrom and more than 70 DFL and GOP co-sponsors introduced a bill on Wednesday that would increase penalties for felons convicted of possessing firearms and make it a felony for individuals who knowingly purchase a gun for an ineligible person. The bill would also step up law enforcement collection and sharing of background check data.

Notably absent from the bill is a provision for universal background checks, which was the cornerstone of a gun violence prevention bill crafted and introduced by DFL House Public Safety Committee Chair Michael Paymar.

“We attempted to put together a proposal that has bipartisan support as well as geographic balance,” Hilstrom, a prosecutor from Brooklyn Park, said. “We believe that this is a proposal that can bring people together in Minnesota to do what we can to improve the background system that we currently have but also hold felons responsible for crimes they commit.”

Paymar and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Ron Latz held hours of hearings on gun violence prevention bills last month in the wake of a school shooting in Newtown, Conn. that left more than two dozen dead and a workplace shooting in Minneapolis that left six dead, including the gunman. Paymar told MPR that he does not support the move and will not hold a hearing on the bill in his committee.

In an interview with Politics in Minnesota, Latz said a bill without universal background checks is a “major failing for all victims of gun violence.” Latz has yet to introduce his gun violence prevention package, but says it’s in the works right now. “This is a firearm,” Latz said. “We are not talking about teddy bears here.”

Hilstrom said she plans to push for a hearing on the bill despite Paymar’s objections, and is currently working on getting a co-sponsor for the bill in the Senate. Several Senate Republicans were at the press conference, including Warren Limmer and Julianne Ortman, but no Democrats from the upper chamber were present.

Appearing on MPR earlier on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Thissen said while he personally would like to see something done around universal background checks, there is no unified  caucus position on the issue.

 

4 comments

  1. I think it is finally starting to dawn on politicians that firearms are really not the problem when possessed by the law abiding. And, they (the law abiding) are clearly not going to stand by and let more rights be stolen from them.

  2. Well said Gail and also, thank you Ms Hilstrom. Good luck to us all.

  3. Back ground checks are only a useful tool to for putting more hurdles to legal gun ownership and only affect legal law abiding citizens. If you really believe that a felon, gang banger or people with a history of breaking the law are going to the local gun store to buy they’re guns, you are seriously out of touch with reality and shouldn’t be holding public office. Stolen guns are available on the streets at a third of the price of a gun store, and NO background checks. Where do you think the under age teens are purchasing they’re guns. I have a loaded 9mm on my end table that has been there for over 20 years. It has never left my house and robbed a bank, raped, shot a police officer, been in a gang fight, or murdered or maimed anyone. GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE ! PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE ! The time has come and gone for you people to wake up and face reality. These are NOT gun issues, they are people issues and need to be dealt with swiftly and sternly. In your oath of office you swore to uphold and protect the Constitution of The United States of America. But when the opportunity presents itself, a large percentage of you on the left side of the isle attack the second amendment of the Constitution. whenever there is Democrat control, the second amendment comes under attack. I am a Proud American gun owner, NRA member, Veit Nam veteran, American Legion member. As an American citizen I demand that you stop attacking my second amendment rights! No more new gun laws!. Let me remind you, we don’t work for you, YOU WORK FOR US !

  4. I still want to know, how well are the current laws being enforced for background checks and so on when it comes to guns? If, as our Vice President Joe Biden, seems to believe we don’t have enough people to follow up on the lying on paperwork as it is, why are we writing more laws that won’t be enforced?

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