Editor’s Note: This is a press release from Minnesota House and Richfield representative, Linda Slocum (D-Richfield), regarding a bill that was passed in the Minnesota State Legislature last week.
This week, some members of the Public Safety Committee rammed legislation through that would completely eliminate the state’s system of background checks and permits to purchase guns. They did this despite strong opposition from law enforcement officials, including the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. If made law it would be the single biggest repeal of gun laws in decades and dramatically reduce the safeguards that keep criminals and unstable individuals from obtaining guns. I voted against the bill in committee and will continue to oppose it as it continues through the legislative process.
Supporters of the bill argue that the state law is unnecessary because of federal laws already in place. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association disagrees and said that relying solely on the federal databases allow some people to go unnoticed. The federal database does not contain complete records of mental health or criminal violence. Certain crimes of violence that would prevent a person from owning a gun in Minnesota would then not be detected in this database.
Bloomington police officer, Sgt. Mark Elliott, eloquently testified in committee that current Minnesota law is actually more comprehensive and thorough than the federal law. He said that anyone in Minnesota convicted of a gross-misdemeanor crime would be barred from getting a permit under current state law, but their information would not even show up in the federal system.
When it comes to public safety, I am a firm believer in listening to the experts and the police officers working to keep our streets safe every day. When they come out so strongly against a bill like this, it’s clearly not in the best interests of the people of Minnesota. Considering what happened in Tucson just a few weeks ago, this is certainly not the time to pursue loosening gun control laws.
On this issue and the many others confronting us this legislative session, I’d appreciate your input. Please feel free to send me your comments, concerns and suggestions. You can reach me by phone at 651-296-7158 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send mail to my office, room 359 in the State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155.