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The Push To Strengthen Minnesota’s Gun Laws Is Gaining Momentum

April 26, 2018

Following the release of two polls showing overwhelming support for closing Minnesota’s background check loophole, Minnesota lawmakers are intensifying their efforts to strengthen the state’s gun laws this session.

On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Latz (DFL – St. Louis Park) announced the next step in his push for background check legislation, saying a background check proposal would be one of two amendments to pending legislation he will offer today.

Federal law requires licensed gun dealers to conduct criminal background checks on gun sales, but there is no federal background check requirement for unlicensed sales, including sales initiated online and sales made at gun shows. While a number of states have passed background check requirements to address this loophole, Minnesota has not.

Sen. Latz’s announcement came a day after Rep. Erin Maye Quade (DFL – Apple Valley) started a 24-hour sit-in on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives to push for action on gun safety bills. A number of her colleagues joined her, including Dario Anselmo (R – Edina).

Earlier this week, a Minnesota Star-Tribune poll showed 9 in 10 Minnesotans support mandatory criminal background checks on all gun sales. This poll was the second this month to show overwhelming support: A poll conducted by Survey USA, commissioned by Everytown, showed 89 percent of Minnesotans – including 89 percent of gun owners, 84 percent of Republicans and 94 percent of Democrats – support requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales.

Lawmakers are also pushing for Red Flag legislation that would temporarily block a person from having guns if there is evidence that he or she poses a risk of harm to self or others. The Survey USA poll showed 87 percent of respondents support this policy.

More information is available here about Red Flag laws, which three states have passed since the Parkland tragedy alone. Information about Minnesota’s background check loophole is available here.

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