Gun restriction bills on hold at Minnesota Capitol - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Gun restriction bills on hold at Minnesota Capitol

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A pair of Democratic-backed bills, calling for stronger gun laws in Minnesota have been tabled by a House Committee after being introduced at the State Capitol Thursday. 

The two bills were authored by Democratic Representative Dave Pinto, and heard by the Public Safety Committee.

One would expand background checks,  while the other could prohibit people from possessing firearms if they pose a significant danger to themselves, or others.

Pinto says universal background checks is common sense gun reform. 

"This is simply proposing to have the same check that's being done right now, on apparently 85% of sales. Lets make sure that that covers up to 100% and keep more weapons out of the hands of people who are not allowed to have them," said Pinto, D - St. Paul. 

Universal background checks is something gun rights advocacy groups have taken exception to, saying their studies show 95% of gun owners don't support such a bill.

"People generally support the idea of background checks - but when you talk about the restrictions on transfers, the restrictions on loans, loaning someone a firearm to go hunting for the weekend, that's when they start to really fall off," said Robert Doar, with the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus. 

Gun advocacy groups also say universal background checks have and will fail in the future. 

"No background check can stop an evil mind, or reveal undiagnosed insanity. It simply can't happen. Universal background checks haven't stopped any mass public shootings in this century. Since 2000, every one of our mass shooters have obtained their weapons without using legal, private transfers," said Joseph Olson, with the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance. 

Meanwhile, Democratic Representative Raymond Dehn says lawmakers will never be able to legislate evil out of peoples minds - but universal background checks will curb future mass shootings.   

"If we reduce the ability of individuals who shouldn't have guns, to get guns, it will then reduce the amount of people that we are seeing shot and killed by guns every day," said Dehn, D - Minneapolis. 

The second bill before the committee Thursday would temporarily prohibit people from possessing firearms if they pose a significant danger to themselves or others. It would allow a third party group to confiscate a persons firearms, if it could be proven, the owner posed a significant threat. 

"This is a common sense bill that will allow those closest to a crisis situation to request a due process hearing about the status of a persons possession of firearms, when family or law enforcement witness behaviors that are putting the person subject to the order are putting their lives, or the lives of loved ones around them in danger," said Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier.  

Gun advocacy groups say the bill deprives gun owners of their constitutional rights. 

"This bill is confiscation without due process, period. If this bill were to become law, an individuals constitutional rights would be violated. Not because of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, not even clear and convincing evidence. But mere preponderance of the evidence of only one side of the story," said Doar. 

Doar also said the language in the bill could encourage a person to report a gun owner because of a personal vendetta, further restricting law-abiding citizens from 2nd amendment rights. Pinto said language crafted into the bill would make any false reports a felony, as it would constitute perjury. 

The bills are now stuck in limbo... after being tabled.
It's unclear when and if they'll be taken back up. 

There are several gun-related bills that are set to start making their way through the Capitol during this session, including the controversial "Stand Your Ground" bill, Constitutional Carry, which would allow a person to carry a firearm in some public places without obtaining a permit, and finally a bump stock ban. 

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