Legislative defeats on gun restrictions set stage for 2020

Gun safety activists see a silver lining in the defeat of stricter firearms laws this year in the Minnesota Legislature. With the 2020 elections coming into view, DFL-backed gun measures are likely to remain a potent organizing tool, particularly among young voters growing up in an age of school shootings, a chronic problem that could put pressure on Senate Republican holdouts. At the same time, GOP leaders maintain that they won’t face consequences at the polls — and may even be rewarded — for their defense of gun rights, a bedrock issue for a large swath of the Republican base. Those clashing perspectives on one of the Legislature’s most combative issues suggest that the debate will only intensify in the months ahead. For the first time, the DFL-controlled Minnesota House passed an expansion of criminal background checks for private transfers at gun shows and online, long a focus of national gun control advocates. DFL lawmakers also advanced what would become a new "red flag" law allowing authorities to temporarily take away firearms from people considered a danger to themselves or others. Neither measure got a hearing in the Republican-led Senate. GOP Majority Leader Paul Gazelka promised all year to defeat them, and he was able to keep them out of the state’s public safety spending bill signed into law by DFL Gov. Tim Walz last week. "We will not forget who stood in the way," said Erin Zamoff, director of the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action. "It’s pretty […]

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