State senators take their finger off trigger to ban guns, magazines | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

State senators take their finger off trigger to ban guns, magazines

Posted: February 24, 2013 - 9:33pm

A resounding ‘NO’ echoed through the Minnesota Senate chambers last week. Overwhelming dissent came from the voices of individuals opposed to bills that would have criminalized ownership of assault-style rifles and magazines over a politically correct number.

The Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) controlled Senate opted to leave the matter up to the U.S. House and Senate or the administration if it chooses to ban both on a federal level.

Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, who is chairing the Senate’s gun hearings this week, said he will focus on closing the loopholes in background checks and leave the issue of banning weapons or ammunition to Congress.

Latz told the StarTribune, “The assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazine ban proposals are highly divisive.” Latz is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Legions of concerned gun owners turned out for three days of hearings on gun issues last week, and Latz said such bans also do not have strong support from law enforcement.”

For now, the state’s opponents to banning guns that look like military-style weaponry outshouted those who want them banned.

Those vocal hundreds that rallied in St. Paul included members of the Minnesota Gun Owners’ Civil Rights Alliance and the National Rifle Association.

One must applaud those who stood up to the senators advocating the assault-style weapons ban.

In fact, one should ardently support the Senate’s efforts to expand background checks. Closing loopholes in the state’s background check gained the support of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which “represents the rank-and-file police officers.”

There are those in the Legislature who singled out the DFL-led bill to ban assault-style guns and large capacity magazines as a tactic to get the wider background check through. “We always suspected this was the strategy from the minute this started, ” said Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, leader of the gun-owners-rights position at the Legislature. “I don’t think they thought they had the votes.”

Latz’s committee held hearings late last week to prevent people with mental disorders and felons from obtaining guns.

One thing is certain: Those who value the Second Amendment must remain vigilant and not trust the word of a politician when it comes to preserving our rights as U.S. citizens.

Keith Hansen