Minnesota House passes bill to ban abusers from having guns

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The Minnesota House has overwhelmingly passed a bill banning gun possession by people convicted of certain abuse crimes or those subject to restraining orders.

This measure marks a rare instance where lawmakers appear ready to tighten certain gun restrictions.

State law already prevents convicted abusers from having handguns, but this includes all firearms. The bill would require anyone convicted of child or domestic abuse to give up their firearms for good, the Associated Press says. And any person subject to a temporary restraining order would have to give up their guns while the order was in effect; however a judge could choose to extend the order, the Star Tribune says.

Anyone subject to the bill would have to turn over their guns to a person or an entity legally allowed to have them within three days of being convicted.

The author, Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-Cottage Grove, said Wednesday that he knows the bill won't save every life, but he hopes the proposal will save some lives. Schoen, who is a police officer, has said the bill is not targeting law-abiding gun owners, but "if you beat women and children, you don't deserve to have your gun."

The measure is backed by prominent gun-rights defenders including Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, who says it protects gun owners' rights and those in worrisome domestic environments.

Gun-restriction critic, Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, told the Star Tribune the bill sends a strong message that "domestic violence is not acceptable in any place, particularly not in the state of Minnesota."

The Senate version of the bill awaits floor action.

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