The Minnesota Senate passed sweeping gun-control legislation despite only a one-vote majority in the state’s legislature. The legislation includes a highly criticized “red flag law” which would allow state authorities to ask courts for “extreme risk protection orders” to temporarily take guns away from citizens if they fit a broad profile of criteria. The law is also clamping down on private gun transfers by requiring extensive background checks. Although the legislation has been mostly fixated on gun control, Democrats have also slipped other woke talking points into the bill, including language that expands the definition of bias crimes to include gender identity. Second Amendment activists are raising alarm over the planned measures and are likely to take the state to court. This has not deterred Democrat Governor Tim Waltz who is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as it hits his desk.
By Sarah Rumpf-Whitten; May 17, 2023
Democratic Minnesota senators, holding firm despite only a one-vote majority, successfully passed sweeping gun control legislation in an effort to keep guns out of the hands of people in crisis and criminals.
The public safety and judiciary finance and policy agreement passed early Tuesday, May 16 by a vote of 69-63, after passing the Senate 34-33 on Friday, May 12.
The proposals included the controversial “red flag law” that would allow authorities to ask courts for “extreme risk protection orders” to temporarily take guns away from people deemed to be an imminent threat to others or themselves.
“What we are going to be providing — finally — is a path forward for families and law enforcement who know that someone’s exhibiting signs of crisis and danger,” said Democratic Sen. Rob Latz of St. Louis Park, chairman of the Senate public safety committee. “And it will give them lawful tools to separate people in crisis from the firearms that are around them.”
The provision is part of a broad public safety budget bill that also contains expanded background checks for gun transfers, with opponents arguing it violates a person’s due process and the Second Amendment of the constitution.
The extension on background check requires background for private transfers, which excludes family and law enforcement, of pistols and “semi-automatic military-style assault weapons.”
Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz is expected to sign the bill into law, after sharing his thoughts on the legislation in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
“As a veteran, gun-owner, hunter, and dad, I know that basic gun safety isn’t a threat to the Second Amendment. It’s about our first responsibility to our kids: Keeping them safe,” Waltz wrote in a Twitter post. “When the bill reaches my desk, I’m going to sign a red flag law and background checks into law.”
The bill also includes:
- Expanding the definition of bias crimes to include gender identity
- Creating an Office of Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls
- Providing $8.8 million for law enforcement recruitment and retention in the next four years
- Boosting funding for the state judicial system, including pay raises for judges
- Restricting strip searches of detained juveniles