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DFL-led Minnesota legislature rallies behind gun control measures

A supporter of gun control measures holds a sign saying "not one more." (Elijah Todd-Walden BLCK Press)

The Minnesota House is considering two gun control measures that legislators are calling a first step to a safer Minnesota.

The measures are part of the House’s omnibus public safety bill. The first measure is a red-flag law that would allow friends and families to get a court order to remove firearms from a person for a year if they prove to be a threat to themselves or others. The second requires universal background checks on all firearm sales, even ones between individual gun owners.

The bills have enough support in the DFL-controlled House to pass, but with just a one-seat majority in the Senate, Democrats need every DFL senator in order to pass the bills. Republicans have signaled they are against both bills, and the Senate’s omnibus public safety bill does not include either provision, and has already been passed. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has pushed the legislation at a rally in favor of the measures at the capitol Tuesday afternoon.

“Political capital isn’t something you bank away. Political capital is what you burn to improve lives,” Walz said. “That’s what is being asked of us.”

Well over 100 people crowded the capitol steps mere hours before the debate on the measures began, with state senators and representatives pledging to continue to fight to get what Walz described as “basic, floor-level, safety type of things for our children.”

Rep. Dave Pinto, the author of the criminal background check provision, said that he sees the effect of gun violence daily during his work as a prosecutor.

“I see every day the impact of guns on our communities, how the easy availability of guns in the hands of dangerous people makes us all less safe,” Pinto said.

The House tabled the discussion for the bill shortly before midnight on Tuesday after Republicans proposed over 30 amendments. The debate ended without a final vote.

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