Serving Roseau County for over 100 Years - The Official Roseau County Newspaper


by Ryan Honl

The Gun Storage Bill died in the Senate this week. The bill would have required gun owners to lock unloaded guns separate from ammunition in a safe even in one’s own home.

The bill never came to the floor due to Democratic Senator Grant Hauschild saying he would not vote for it. With that announcement from Hauschild, Democratic Majority Leader Senator Erin Murphy withdrew the bill before it could be voted on. The Democrats would have needed all 34 of their Senators to vote yes in order to pass it. All 33 Republican Senators opposed the bill, leaving no room for any Democrat to vote no.

Senator Hauschild covers District 3 which is all of Northeastern Minnesota including International Falls where gun ownership is higher than Metro areas where the Democrats have firm control. Hauschild released a statement before the bill could reach the floor.

"Since being elected to the State Senate, I have been clear in my opposition to a gun storage law. That has not changed," Hauschild states. "In Northern Minnesota, we are responsible gun owners & do not need an unenforceable law to tell us how to keep ourselves safe or how to handle our guns."

Governor Walz stated that he was ready to sign the bill if it did pass.

The Senate Democrats were able to squeeze through two other gun bills.

One of the bills that passed is the requirement that a straw purchase where buying a gun for someone not legally allowed to have one will become a felony. Under current law the penalty is a gross misdemeanor. Governor Walz has stated that he will sign that bill into law.

"This bill is one more step we can take together to keep our families and law enforcement safe from gun violence," said Democrat Heather Gustafson, a Twin Cities Senator. "Gun violence requires a multifaceted response. And this bill closes loopholes within current laws in order to hold offenders accountable."

The Republicans were able to get through an amendment to that bill that increases the penalties for guns that harm public safety officials such as police and deputies.

The other bill that passed the Senate is banning binary triggers. They are a trigger mechanism that allows a round to fire both on the pressing of the trigger and also when the trigger is depressed. Although Governor Walz supports that bill it may not get to his desk in this Senate session and will have to wait to become law in the fall because it may not fit on the calendar before this session ends.

All Republicans opposed that bill as well.

Local Republican Senator Mark Johnson who is also the Minority Leader of the Senate sent out a statement concerning both bills that passed.

“Today Senate Democrats chose partisan and political gun policy over commonsense bipartisanship,” it states. “Democrats continue to pass controversial legislation relying on the deciding vote of a Democrat Senator that has been charged with a felony crime of violence. The bill includes some Republican language to increase the penalties for those who act as a straw purchaser by buying a gun for someone who legally can’t have one. However, it also turns law-abiding gun owners into criminals with the controversial binary trigger ban.”

The Democratic Senator that Johnson references is Senator Nicole Mitchell who was arrested for first degree burglary for allegedly breaking into her mother in laws house to steal items that belonged to her deceased father. After a partisan Senate Ethics Committee vote of 2-2 she is still allowed to cast votes.


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