New firearms regulations in Minnesota are now in effect after passage in the state Legislature during the recently concluded 2023 session, signed by Gov. Tim Walz.
Pretty much along party lines, the majority Democrats in the House, and particularly in the Senate, were able to craft two important pieces of legislation.
The first is the so-called “red flag” passage, in which a judge can take away firearms possession from individuals who are deemed to be a danger to themselves and/or others. This includes persons diagnosed with mental illness, persons with a record of repeated violence, or those with a record of domestic abuse.
The second is extending background checks, especially in private party transfers of a firearm(s).
One area of gun regulations that will remain unchanged is in the area of assault weapons.
Drawing from federal and state law definitions, the term assault weapon refers primarily to semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns that are able to accept detachable magazines and possess one or more other features. Some jurisdictions define revolving-cylinder shotguns as assault weapons. In Minnesota, a person 21 years and older can possess an assault weapon.
Legislators who supported the new regulations pointed to growing pressure from constituents, even in states or areas where historically Second Amendment rights are the prevailing position, as a factor in their vote. Also cited were concerns about the growing epidemic of mass shootings, particularly in schools, and the matter of suicide.
Are the new regulations passed a step in the “right direction” for improving personal, private and law enforcement safety?
Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case, who has called for tougher gun regulations, said that he supports any new restrictions that would make it more difficult for individuals with known mental health issues, underage individuals, and those with criminal records to acquire firearms.
“There needs to be a waiting period,” Case said. “I don’t want to see people getting a gun the minute they turn 18 years old.”
Capt. Chris Wood of the Eden Prairie Police Department said, “the new laws will give us some additional tools in helping to keep people safe.”
He did add, “although the ‘red flag’ law will give us another option for keeping people safe, it will increase the potential for significant danger to officers responding to a court order to remove a person’s firearms.”
Asked if the department would like to have seen stricter provisions regarding assault weapons, Wood said “the department does not have an opinion on this. The majority of those who commit crimes with guns are not usually the people who follow the laws regarding gun ownership.”
What about gun shows or swap meets in the city?“
“I am not aware of there ever being a gun show or swap meet in Eden Prairie,” he said. “Regardless, the department will enforce the laws of the state.”
Spokespersons for Arnzen Arms and Scheels had no comment on the new legislation. These are the only two retail gun stores in Eden Prairie.
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