Minnesota Legislature considering 5 bills related to guns

The Minnesota Senate Chamber.
The ceiling of the Minnesota Senate Chamber is reflected on a desk inside the west wing of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2016

The deadly school shooting in Florida has revived discussion over gun control and highlighted Minnesota's pending bills on the issue.

The Pioneer Press reports that there are at least five bills currently on file this session relating to firearms or the Second Amendment.

Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, introduced a "stand your ground" bill that would allow lethal force to be used to stop felonies, regardless of whether a person is in their home or not. The bill has passed out of committee and could be voted on in the House at any time, though it hasn't passed through a Senate committee.

Nash's other bill would eliminate the need in most cases for a gun permit to carry on public property. The law wouldn't apply to those who can't legally carry guns, such as felons. It also increases the criminal penalty for gun possession to a felony. The bill was heard in the House's public safety committee last year, but it wasn't voted on so it remains in the committee.

Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, originally sponsored a bill that would allow law enforcement and family members to ask a court to ban a person from possessing firearms if they pose a threat.

Petitioners would have to submit information such as history of threats of violence, arrests and drug or alcohol abuse. The order could last from six months to two years. The bill didn't receive a hearing last year and was referred to the Senate's judiciary committee.

Park's other bill calls for universal background checks for gun sales between private parties. If a buyer and seller aren't federally licensed, they're required to appear before a licensed dealer, who would conduct the background check and keep a record of the transaction. The bill includes some exceptions, such as exchanges between family members. This bill is also in the judiciary committee without a hearing.

Rep. John Considine, DFL-Mankato, filed a bill last week that would make "slide-fire" or "bump" stocks illegal and classify them as "trigger activators." Activators increase the rate that a gun's trigger can be pulled thus increasing a firearm's rate of fire. The bill was referred to the House public safety committee.

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