Bipartisan Support for Two Gun Control Bills

March 12, 2018 - 3:44 pm

By Sloane Martin, WCCO Radio


ST. PAUL, MN – The issue of gun reform legislation hits a nerve on both sides at the Minnesota capitol, eliciting passionate responses after the Parkland shooting. On Monday, four State Senator came forward to introduce two bills that they say can reduce gun violence.

“What we adults failed to do for thirty years our kids are now doing. That shames me,” said DFL Sen. Matt Little of Lakeville who says he was inspired by Parkland teens who spoke out on gun control.

On Monday, Little along with DFL Sen. Susan Kent and Republican Senators Scott Jensen and Paul Anderson gathered to detail the two bills they worked on. They called them “pragmatic” and “common sense.” One would require universal background checks, the other mandatory reporting for lost or stolen firearms within 14 days.

“The first bill on universal background checks will require that all transfers of a firearm have a (Federal Firearms License) present and a background check done,” said Sen. Little. “There are a number of exemptions for family, antiques, hunting and a number of other situations.”

Little said the goal of the second bill is to cut down on “straw person purchasers” trying to circumvent the law.

Sen Jensen said the Republican caucus agreed to focus on school safety this session. He said proposals like this are a “no brainer” for him.

“In regards to the straw man legislation. Really? We’re going to bawk about that? You want to buy a gun and give it to someone else who probably couldn’t get it on their own? What kind of nutcase are you?” questioned Jensen.

All four represent suburban districts and said they knew it was a risky move politically said they’re prepared to hear backlash from constituents. Jensen went on to say his experience as a family doctor led him to add his name to the legislation.

“When we get colonoscopies done we’re always removing polyps and often times those are precancerous polyps. We will never know how many we spared from dying a death of colon cancer when we remove the polyps,” said Sen. Jensen. “That’s sort of like what we’re doing here. If a bill like a universal background check can stop something - we may never see it register on our radar screens – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t having an effect. If we’re going to try and use that kind of teleological reasoning we may as well go sine die today and go home.”

The bills are not yet scheduled in committee, but Sen. Little says they’ll be introduced Wednesday and they’ll request a hearing right away.