The Potluck

Senate DFL wants action on gun control measures in special session

By: - June 7, 2022 1:01 pm

Shoppers try out guns during a gun show at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of DFL state senators on Tuesday called on their Republican colleagues to take action on long-stalled gun control legislation in a special session. 

In recent weeks, two 18-year-old gunmen using AR-15 style rifles separately killed 10 Black people in Buffalo, N.Y., and 21 elementary school students and teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

Senate Democratic lawmakers want to raise the age limit for purchasing military-style rifles to 21; pass a so-called red flag law, which would allow police to temporarily confiscate firearms from someone deemed to be a threat; and expand background checks to include private sales or purchases at gun shows.

State Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-Golden Valley, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, criticized his GOP colleagues for what he said was stonewalling on “meaningful, common-sense gun violence reduction measures.”

The chances of new gun control legislation before the November election are remote: Lawmakers are currently adjourned and negotiations over a potential special session to finish passing tax cuts and new spending are yielding little progress.

Latz said the three proposals highlighted on Tuesday would not be a panacea. 

“We are not going to propose that these are the solutions to gun violence in Minnesota standing alone,” he said. “Clearly they’re not. They’d be a very important piece of the puzzle.”

In the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting, Senate Republicans and the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus have resisted calls for gun control measures. 

Republicans are instead arguing more mental health resources are necessary to prevent mass shootings; schools, some gun rights activists say, should be made more secure

Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, issued a critical statement blaming Democratic policies for the rise in violent crime. He said Democratic lawmakers have resisted GOP calls to crack down on crime with tougher criminal penalties. 

“I find it hard to take their proposals today seriously when they won’t agree to these commonsense ideas that will actually protect our citizens from the threat posed by violent criminals today,” he said.

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