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New permit to carry office opens as Gabby Giffords calls for gun control

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The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office has opened a second office for residents to apply for a permit to carry.

This happened just one day before former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords made a stop at the Minnesota State Capitol, pressing for stricter gun laws. 

The sheriff's office says they decided to open a second office at their Enforcement Services Division Headquarters in Brooklyn Park to accommodate the recent uptick in applications. 

Last year, they had 6,421 permit to carry applications, up 15 percent from 2014. 

Meanwhile, Giffords – who co-founded the gun violence prevention group, Americans for Responsible Solutions – says extra measures need to be taken to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. 

She spoke with state legislators and members of the Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense – which she helped launch earlier this year – saying lawmakers should require background checks to keep criminals, domestic abusers and the mentally ill from getting guns.

According to a poll by the former congresswoman's group, 86 percent of Minnesotan voters believe in "closing loopholes" to make sure dangerous people can't buy guns without a background check.

The poll says 77 percent of Republican voters agree. 

"Proud gun owner" and former St. Paul law enforcement officer, Dave Korus, says he is standing with Gillfords to keep firearms from falling into the wrong hands, a news release says. 

But not everyone is on her side. 

The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus – a grassroots group dedicated to protecting the right to keep and bear arms – says it's worried these actions might punish law-abiding citizens more than criminals. 

In regards to the Americans for Responsible Solutions' polls, the group says 95 percent of gun owners actually do not support this kind of legislation.

The Gun Owners Caucus suggests lawmakers, instead, shift their focus to violent criminals. The group cited an MPR Newes report saying fewer than half the people found to possess a firearm illegally receive the minimum sentence of 60 months in prison. 

Gun laws in Minnesota

Just last week, lawmakers in Minnesota got into some heated discussions regarding gun control.

DFL Sen. Ron Latz has two bills regarding the efforts. One calls for more background checks, requiring them for firearm sales and transfers.

The other bill would give law enforcement and family members the ability to petition in court to prohibit a person from getting a firearm if the person is believed to be a danger to themselves or another person. 

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