Gun control calls mark first day of new Minnesota legislative session

The new House leader says the DFL will be proposing 2 gun safety bills.
Publish date:

Tuesday marked the first day of the new legislative session, with Minnesota the only state in the country with split chambers.

After gaining 18 seats in November's elections, the DFL took control of the Minnesota House, leaving the Republicans in control of the Senate.

The GOP majority in the Senate is just two seats, which could become one on Feb. 5 when a special election is held for the seat vacated by District 11 Sen. Tony Lourey, who resigned to join Gov. Tim Walz's administration.

With control of the legislature finely balanced, both parties set about revealing their legislative agendas for the upcoming session.

And one of the most keenly watched developments over the coming months will be whether there will be any headway made in passing gun safety measures, calls for which grew in 2018 after a series of mass shootings across the U.S.

Lawmakers were greeted at the Minnesota Capitol on Tuesday by a demonstration by Moms Demand Action, a group calling for gun control measures.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

Also in the Capitol Building were Republican counter protesters, some of whom called for protection of the 2nd Amendment, while others called for the Legislature to return more of the state's budget surplus to taxpayers.

Rep. Melissa Hortman, elected as the new House Speaker on Tuesday, joined a press conference alongside Moms Demand Action in which she said two "common sense" gun bills would be among the first 10 proposed by the Democrats in this session.

Moms Demand Action are calling for a bill requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales, and a "Red Flag" law that would allow family members and law enforcement to petition a court for temporary removal of a person's guns if they pose a risk to themselves or others.

Tim Walz, in his first press conference as Minnesota's new governor, said the DFL-backed proposals "just make sense," the Pioneer Press reports.

The question is whether such a bill would pass the GOP-controlled Senate, though two GOP Senators – Paul Anderson and Scott Jensen – did join two DFL colleagues in proposing gun safety measures last year.

Nonetheless most GOPers oppose the red flag and background check proposals, believing they would infringe upon the rights of gun owners.

They instead prefer to bolster the state's mental health services, which is one of the five bills the GOP in the Senate is expected to focus on first this session. The other four relate to child care, healthcare affordability, government accountability, and simplifying the tax code.

The child care proposal, for example, will tackle "regulatory overreach" in order to encourage new childcare providers to start businesses, while its healthcare plans include offering more freedom for people to choose their doctor and making healthcare billing more transparent.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka told reporters he's optimistic about being able to work with the DFL-controlled House and Democratic governor Tim Walz.

That said, he doesn't think November's election results show that Republicans should shift towards Democratic positions on certain issues.

Next Up

Liam Robbins

Gophers stay perfect at home by crushing 7th-ranked Michigan

Liam Robbins and Marcus Carr were too much for the previously undefeated Wolverines.

police lights

Four teens arrested over robberies in Minneapolis

They teens were found in a vehicle that was taken during an earlier carjacking.

Boundary Waters/BWCA

All BWCA visitors will now have to watch three 'Leave No Trace' videos

Visitors left an "unacceptably high amount" of damage last year.


Ten fatal overdoses in past 6 weeks reported in region of northern MN

Law enforcement agencies have issued a plea to the general public.

u.s. district court minnesota - federal court minneapolis

Bracing for security threats, federal courthouses closing in Minnesota

Security is also being ramped up at the state capitol.

N95 mask

3M sues Florida company that sold 10K counterfeit N95 masks to HCMC

The Maplewood company has obtained a temporary injunction against the firm.

vaccine, covid

Walz, Whitmer, and Evers call on Trump Admin. to buy more vaccines

It comes after The Washington Post reported that the country's COVID vaccine reserves have been exhausted.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Wolves-Grizzlies game off, KAT tests postive for COVID

The Timberwolves star was among several players that are dealing with COVID-related issues.

minnesota state fair

Planning for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair is underway

The fair suffered huge financial losses due to COVID-19, but organizers are moving forward with planning "different scenarios" for this summer.


Proposing gun control bills, GOP lawmakers say they don't care if they get voted out

Republicans and Democrats joined to propose 2 gun control bills on Monday.

Proposing gun control bills, students warn: 'Come November, we will vote'

Democrats have proposed a dozen gun control bills, and hope at least some will get a hearing.

2 gun control bills fail at the Minnesota Capitol, as Republican majority proves too strong

The bills would have expanded background checks and allow families to prohibit a loved one from possessing a gun.

Once again, the Minnesota legislative session is ending in acrimony

We're hurtling towards the Monday deadline with no agreement on two hugely important bills.

paul gazelka

DFL calls on Gazelka to resign as more is revealed about GOP's COVID outbreak

The Senate Majority Leader is under pressure over the party's COVID-19 controversy.

Where do Minnesota's election candidates stand on gun control?

It's back at the forefront of people's minds after the Pittsburgh atrocity.

gun debate

Gun bill debate lasts until midnight, will continue Thursday

There was a huge crowd in attendance, many of whom wanted to speak.