Proposed Minnesota gun bill has been modified to ease shooting sports concerns

Gun Rights

A gun bill in the Minnesota House that would have wreaked havoc with hunters and disrupted scholastic shooting sports has been altered to alleviate fears expressed in a rare public statement from Federal Ammunition. In a March 26 letter to Rep. John Heinrich, R-Anoka, that circulated widely last week on social media, Federal Ammunition President Jason Vanderbrink said the gun transfer legislation requiring universal criminal background checks “would effectively outlaw youth shooting sports’’ and undermine conservation funding. Originally, the bill’s language seemed to apply to all firearms transfers, even exchanges between family members and hunting companions. Minors can’t own guns, so the use of family-owned shotguns by nearly 13,000 youth trap and skeet shooters in Minnesota would have been subject to transfer paperwork and background reviews by local police chiefs and sheriffs. “These prohibitions would impact thousands of Minnesotans whose participation in youth shooting sports is promoting an ethos of safety, teamwork and dedication amongst the next generation of Minnesota leaders,’’ Vanderbrink wrote. He reminded lawmakers in his letter that an 11 percent federal excise tax on guns, archery equipment and ammunition is the underpinning of wildlife management in the United States. Federal Ammunition, an employer of 1,500 people in Minnesota, has paid an average of $85 million per year in the excise taxes over the past five years — money that is distributed to states for habitat and wildlife work. Ryan Bronson, public policy director for Anoka-based Federal Ammunition, acknowledged that the company “doesn’t normally wade into these […]

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