“Minnesotans deserve to be safe in their communities but unfortunately, guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them has resulted in people losing their lives,” said Rep. Moller, a co-author of both bills. “There have been too many of these tragedies, and families are counting on us to act. Minnesotans and people across the nation have waited long enough for overdue, common-sense legislation like this which will help prevent future tragedies and save lives.”
HF 8, approved by the committee Wednesday night, would expand criminal background checks on gun sales. Minnesota’s background check system currently has loopholes allowing dangerous individuals to obtain guns via online dealers or through private sales. Evidence shows expanded background checks will save lives, and states which have taken this approach have experienced lower homicide rates, lower firearm suicide rates, and less firearm trafficking.
HF 9, which the committee approved at its Thursday meeting, would create “red flag laws,” providing for the temporary removal of an individual’s access to firearms if a judge determines they may be a threat to themselves or others. Through “Extreme Risk Protection Orders,” a court can be petitioned to temporarily remove guns if an individual shows signs of being dangerous. Evidence shows this tool can prevent suicides, homicides, and mass shooting events.
The legislation has earned overwhelming public support. A 2018 poll showed 89 percent of Minnesotans support requiring background checks, including 94 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Republicans, and even 89 percent of gun owners. The same poll showed 87 percent of Minnesotans support red flag laws.
HF 8 and HF 9 are part of the House DFL Caucus’s Minnesota Values Plan, an agenda to improve the lives of all Minnesotans, and a result of face-to-face conversations DFL legislators had with members of communities across the state.