New Minn. gun control proposals unveiled

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Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and several state lawmakers on Thursday unveiled a package of new proposals aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of felons and juveniles.

Freeman, along with Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Division, and Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, chairman of the House Civil Law Committee, presented the proposals amid a renewed national debate over gun control, and one day after a spirited, high-profile congressional hearing on the issue.

President Barack Obama plans a trip Monday to Minneapolis to meet with local leaders as part of his effort to pressure Congress into passing new laws.

The Minnesota Legislature will begin considering new gun legislation in hearings next week.

“We need to focus on legislation that helps our prosecutors keep guns out of the hands of people known to have a violent past,” Latz said.

A press release lists the proposals unveiled Thursday:

-- Keeping guns away from convicted felony domestic violence offenders by defining it as a crime of violence. If the convict possesses a gun again, he would face up to five years in prison.

-- Keeping guns away from juvenile offenders by allowing them to be tried in adult court the second time they are caught with a gun. Currently, they are tried in juvenile court no matter how many times authorities arrest them with a gun illegally.

-- Keeping ammunition away from criminals by prohibiting felons from possessing ammunition just as they are prohibited from possessing guns.

-- Limiting access to guns by people with mental illness by prohibiting those who have been found to be mentally ill from possessing guns, even if their commitment order is put on hold. Currently, only those ordered to a state facility are prohibited from having firearms.

-- Stopping the knowing transfer of guns to criminals by making it a crime for another person to intentionally help a felon obtain a gun.

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