Gun owners, please email these representatives tonight, and call them tomorrow. They have done the right thing so far, and we need to thank them, and encourage them to keep doing right.
Thank you for voting against HF2960, authored by Representative Paymar, last week. He is reintroducing the bill again Wednesday in the Crime Victims/Criminal Records Division Committee. I urge you to oppose it again. As you know, the bill would impose unreasonable costs and administrative hurdles on law-abiding gun owners, while demonstrably doing nothing to prevent criminals from getting guns.
I also urge you to oppose Representative Paymar’s HF1396, which, by including domestic pets in orders for protection, could easily have the effect of permanently depriving a citizen of his civil rights for petting a dog.
Here is some additional background on the bills:
From GOCRA spokesman, blogger and instructor John Caile:
Rep Paymar’s HF 2960 is being spun as a “Gun show Loop hole” bill.
This latest attempt to “keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, and the mentally disturbed” cannot possibly have any effect on violent crime.
The issue, according to the bill’s proponents, is that private citizens who attend the shows are able to buy and sell firearms from each other without such a check. They contend that legions of inner city gang members, terrorists, and the mentally disturbed are lining up to get into every gun show in America.
But the bill’s supporters seem unable to grasp that all that would be necessary to avoid such a check would be…to walk outside to the parking lot and make the exchange there, or just agree to meet elsewhere!
More to the point, study after study of violent offenders has shown conclusively that they do NOT get their guns from gun shows anyway. The ATF itself notes that a tiny 0.7% of all guns used in violent crimes ever even started out at a gun show (and even these were not bought by the felons themselves – many were purchased legally and then later stolen).
Minnesota’s own premier criminal and lethal force research facility, the Force Science Institute at Mankato State University, concurs. With the FBI, the Institute did a five-year investigation of 800 incidents involving criminals who got into shootouts with police officers — in other words, the most violent criminal population. They discovered that “contrary to media myth, not a single firearm in the study was obtained at a gun show” – offenders got 99% of their guns either by stealing them themselves, or by purchasing them in ILLEGAL transactions off the street.
The University of Maryland study (“The Effect of Gun Shows on Gun-Related Deaths,” September, 2008) also found “no evidence” that gun shows have any effect on homicides, or even suicide. They further stated that “tighter regulation of gun shows does not appear to reduce the number of firearms-related deaths,” in direct contradiction of the claims made by the anti-gun contingent.
Such sweeping surveillance of Americans may sound just fine to those who hate and fear guns, but even if the state required a background check on every single private sale of firearms (not just at gun shows, but everywhere) it would not stop illegal sales. And besides, the bad guys always have one card left to play: the “straw purchase,” where they enlist someone with a clean record (usually a gang member’s girlfriend) to buy the gun for them. They do this now, and there is no foreseeable way to stop it, other than vigorous prosecution of those who sell to criminals and the mentally prohibited; participating in a “straw purchase” is already a felony.
But what about those “mentally ill” types we hear about? The problem is that many states have privacy laws prohibiting access to mental health records. In any case, the vast majority of people with mental problems have never been treated – so no background check will flag them. The disturbed Virginia Tech shooter bought his gun completely legally, at a gun store, where he passed the background check.
Even those with a record of mental problems can always find someone to act as a “straw purchaser.” Columbine shooters Harris and Kliebold simply had a girlfriend buy their guns for them. And even if a background check had been conducted on her, she would have passed with flying colors.
Gun control zealots often use the bogus “if-it-saves-one-life” argument. But the bottom line is that “feel-good” nonsense like Representative Paymar’s “gun show” bill will not save a single life – and policy should be based on reality, not fantasy.
And from the NRA:
Representative Paymar’s House File 1396 includes a provision that would allow a court that issues a domestic abuse protective order to prohibit the respondent from having any contact with a PET OR COMPANION ANIMAL OWNED, POSSESSED, OR KEPT by a party protected in the order. This new provision could have serious consequences for Minnesotans who exercise their right to keep and bear arms.
Under Minnesota law, a person who is convicted of violating an order of protection may not possess a pistol for three years from the date of conviction. However, if the court finds the person “used” a firearm in any way during the commission of the violation, the court may prohibit the person from possessing any firearm for ANY period longer than three years or for the remainder of the person’s life. In the latter case, the court shall also order that the firearm be summarily forfeited. Because this bill would allow a court to order the respondent to have no contact with the pet or companion animal, such an order could be violated merely by inadvertent contact with a “protected” pet. Thus, depending on the circumstances of the contact, a person could be subject to these firearms prohibitions for contacting the pet or companion animal, whether or not the contact resulted in injury or trauma to the animal.
Any number of relatively innocent or unintentional scenarios could easily be imagined for such contact. Even intentional contact with a pet that is the subject of a protective order is clearly too low a threshold for a person to lose the ability to exercise a fundamental constitutional right. The same considerations simply do not apply to contact with animals as apply to contact with people. While this bill was originally designed to protect animals, it would also provide unintended and unjustified deprivation of people’s Second Amendment Rights.