The debate over gun control will dominate politics in Minnesota this week.
President Barack Obama will start the discussion with a visit to Minneapolis on Monday to deliver remarks and discuss with local leaders and law enforcement officials his “comprehensive set of commonsense ideas” to reduce gun violence.
"Minneapolis is a city that has taken important steps to reduce gun violence and foster a conversation in the community about what further action is needed," a White House news release states. "President Obama will visit with members of the community about their experiences and discuss additional steps that can be taken at the federal level to reduce gun violence."
On the local level, several bills concerning gun laws were introduced last week—and will take center stage in the Minnesota Legislature starting Tuesday with discussions and public testimony in the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.
“I think there are actually going to be areas where we’re going to get some broad consensus around things we can do that’ll make a difference to keep our public places more safe and to deal with the issues of gun violence,” House Speaker Paul Thissen said during a news conference last week.
Rep. Andrea Kieffer (R-Woodbury) is one of 18 lawmakers who sit on the Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.
The bills relate to the Gun Violence Prevention Act and include measures about guns in schools, possession of firearms, how large-capacity magazines and guns are manufactured and tightening background checks.
Specifically, those bills include:
- H. F. 237, A bill modifying provisions related to the transfer of pistols and semiautomatic military-style assault weapons, and to eligibility to possess a firearm;
- H. F. 238, A bill establishing equal penalties for offenders who unlawfully possess firearms on school property;
- H. F. 239, A bill establishing equal penalties for persons who possess guns on private property after being ordered to leave the premises;
- H. F. 240, A bill improving mental health screening for persons applying for firearms permits;
- H. F. 241, A bill establishing a crime for manufacturing, transferring, or possessing certain assault weapons and providing for the disposal or registration of existing assault weapons;
- H. F. 242, A bill establishing a crime for manufacturing, transferring, or possessing large-capacity magazines;
- H. F. 243, A bill establishing a crime for manufacturing, transferring, or possessing large-capacity magazines;
- H. F. 244, A bill making it a crime to falsely report the loss or theft of a firearm and expanding the crime of transferring certain firearms to an ineligible person.
The National Rifle Association is asking its members to attend the hearings and “stand up for our Second Amendment rights before it is too late.”
“The committee will be considering a ban on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms - including common hunting rifles - as well as imposition of magazine capacity restrictions, a ban on private transfers, and institution of a universal background check system,” an email from the NRA to its members reads. “Your voice is desperately needed in Saint Paul to prevent tried and failed policies that will do nothing more than disarm honest law-abiding gun owners and infringe on our rights.”
The hearings begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.