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Senate GOP set to shoot down gun control measures passed by DFL-controlled Minnesota House

It sets up a legislative confrontation between DFLers and Republicans.

Measures that would require background checks on some gun transfers and allow authorities to temporarily take firearms away from people considered a "significant danger" were included in a bill that passed the Minnesota House overnight.

The future of those specific proposals is uncertain however, with the Senate's Republican leader dismissing the language outright.

DFL legislators in the House included the two gun-related provisions in a public safety omnibus bill, Session Daily explains, which passed 70-64 early Tuesday morning, mostly along party lines.

There are two gun-related provisions in the bill, Session Daily says:

  1. A buyer background check requirement for the transfer of a pistol or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon. That includes transfers between private parties, but there are exclusions - such as transfers to or by a federally-licensed firearms dealer or a law enforcement agency, an exchange between immediate family members, and a temporary exchange if it's necessary to prevent someone from being hurt.
  2. The ability for law enforcement and city or county attorneys to file a petition to the courts, which would prohibit someone from possessing a gun if they pose a "significant danger" to themselves or others. The prohibition would not be permanent, falling anywhere from six months to two years.

Tweeted DFL Rep. Jamie Long:

The Republican-controlled Senate already passed a version of the public safety bill, without the inclusion of these gun-related measures. And party leaders are already prepping to fight the language.

"We're just not going to do it. The bills are dead," said Republican Sen. Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, according to Star Tribune reporter Torey Van Oot.

The House Republicans are framing the proposals as "radical gun control schemes" that won't make anybody safer and infringe on 2nd Amendment rights.

Polls suggest broad support for background checks.

A 2018 Star Tribune poll found 90 percent of Minnesotans in favor of criminal background checks on all gun sales in the U.S., including private sales and those done at gun shows. A SurveyUSA poll, published by Everytown for Gun Safety, found similar levels of support.

City Pages recently noted 14 states currently require background checks on all gun sales (Minnesota is not one of them).

The public safety bill will head to a conference committee, where members will work to come up with a compromise proposal that can pass both the House and Senate.

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