ST. PAUL — State lawmakers are set to travel north to Hibbing on Tuesday, Jan. 21, to take up a slate of bills addressing Minnesota's firearm and public safety laws.
Two of the measures set to come up before the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee would reduce restrictions on Minnesotans' right to carry, while two others would restrict gun sale and possession for certain people.
They won't vote on the bills, but members of the committee will take up public testimony for the first time on a range of proposals.
Crowds of advocates supporting both gun rights and gun control for months have filled hearing rooms and packed public spaces around the Capitol in displays of support and opposition for the dueling firearm proposals. And some are likely to make the trip Tuesday to weigh in on the plans up for consideration in Hibbing.
Supporters of a pair of proposals aimed at limiting access to firearms have said the move to hold the discussion hours away from the Capitol in a hearing that will also consider permitless carry and stand your ground bills is an act of "window dressing" around the issues, rather than taking them seriously.
Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chairs the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. And in announcing the hearing last month, he said it was important to have stakeholders in greater Minnesota weigh in on the plans, not just those in the Twin Cities metro area.
”I think up until now, in the last two years, this gun debate has been one that’s been initiated more by metropolitan interests,” Limmer said. “I think it’s important to get opinion and the participation of our outstate citizens as well."
The full Legislature could take up the proposals later this year as lawmakers return to St. Paul for the legislative session. But they'll likely face a tough path forth in the divided Legislature.
Here's a look at some of the measures they're set to take up Tuesday.
- Senate File 2101 would require a court to set a compliance hearing within 10 days of issuing a firearms restriction after someone violates child abuse, domestic abuse, domestic assault, harassment or stalking laws. Firearms are supposed to be removed from the individual who violates the laws, but the current statute doesn't set out a process to ensure that happens.
- Senate File 434, referred to as the universal background check bill would require someone buying a firearm to obtain a transfer permit to purchase or file a transfer report. And if the buyer is obtaining a firearm from an unlicensed seller, they would also have to produce a transfer permit or provide a permit to carry and identification to the seller. Records of the sale or transfer would need to be kept for five years.
- Senate File 436, which has been called the "red flag" bill would allow law enforcement to remove firearms from a person believed to be a danger to him or herself or to others.
- Senate File 748 would allow Minnesotans authorized to carry a firearm under current permitting requirements to carry in public places without a permit.
- Senate File 72 would adopt in Minnesota law what is commonly known as stand your ground provisions, making justified the use of deadly force in efforts to defend one's self or others against real or perceived threats.
- Senate File 2596 would make it a felony to transfer a firearm to a person who has been denied a permit to carry, is ineligible for the permit or has been disqualified from possessing a permit.
The hearing is set to begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the The Crown Ballroom in Hibbing.