Contact these legislators: eliminate wasteful duplicate background checks

The 2011 legislative session is underway, and GOCRA is working hard to preserve and extend the rights of Minnesota gun owners. Wednesday, in a 10-7 vote, Representative Steve Drazkowski’s House File 161 passed the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance committee. HF161 is a bill to eliminate the requirement to get a purchase permit from your local police department before purchasing a handgun or scary-looking rifle from a licensed dealer. That permit process, passed in 1977, has been redundant since the federally-mandated “instant” background check system was implemented in 1998, and now just wastes the time of law-abiding citizens and police agencies alike. The bill’s next stop is the Civil Law committee. A hearing has not yet been scheduled, but we’ll let you know when it is. There’s lots more detail, below, if you’re interested, but for now, could you do these two things? 1. Please take a moment for a thank-you email or phone call to the representatives who voted to pass this common-sense proposal. They are: Representative Tony Cornish – Chair
651-296-4240 Representative  Kelby Woodard – Vice Chair 651-296-7065 Representative Glenn Gruenhagen 651-296-4229 Representative Tim Kelly 651-296-8635 Representative Andrea Kieffer 651-296-1147 Representative John Kriesel 651-296-4342 Representative Ernie Leidiger 651-296-4282 Representative Joe McDonald 651-296-4336 Representative Bud Nornes 651-296-4946 Representative Steve Smith 651-296-9188 2. Contact members of the Civil Law committee to express your support for the bill. They are: Torrey Westrom – Committee Chair 651-296-4929 Representative Steve DrazkowskiVice Chair (* Drazkowski is the bill’s author. He clearly supports it, but cheer him on anyway!) 651-296-2273 Representative John Lesch – DFL Lead 651-296-4224 Representative Glenn Gruenhagen 651-296-4229 Representative Debra Hilstrom 651-296-3709 Representative Bill Hilty 651-296-4308 Representative Mary Liz Holberg 651-296-6926 Representative Joe Hoppe 651-296-5066 Representative Melissa Hortman 651-296-4280 Representative Tim Mahoney 651-296-4277 Representative Pat Mazorol 651-296-7803 Representative Joyce Peppin 651-296-7806 Representative Sandra Peterson 651-296-4176 Representative Linda Runbeck 651-296-2907 Representative Peggy Scott 651-296-4231 Representative Steve Simon 651-296-9889 Representative Doug Wardlow 651-296-4128
Here are more details:
In Minnesota, before you can buy a handgun or a “semiautomatic military-style assault weapon” (that’s gun-banner language for a scary-looking black rifle) from a gun store, you must first go to your local police station and apply for a Minnesota “Permit to Purchase.” This permit means that the department has run a background check and found that you’re not disqualified from purchasing such a gun. If the department does its job, you get a purchase permit card within a week. If the department is too busy, arrogant or careless, it may take two weeks, three weeks, or even longer. Some anti-gun police departments are notoriously slow, blatantly ignoring the state-mandated seven-day deadline. And though the law is clear, it is also toothless, providing no incentive for misbehaving police departments to comply. Once you get the card, go to the store, and choose a gun, you then have to fill out an ATF  “4473 form,” and the dealer phones in your info to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which then approves (or, if you’re disqualified, rejects) the sale, by performing another set of background checks, based on the exact same data that the police department took so long to deliver. This NICS check looks for disqualifications under both federal and state law. With tight budgets at every level of Minnesota government, we cannot afford to overlook opportunities to save money. This background check redundancy is completely unnecessary, and is a waste of time and valuable law enforcement resources, not to mention the annual inconvenience to law-abiding Minnesotans. ——————————————————————————————————————————- Please make a donation to GOCRA. Without your support, we can’t continue the fight for your rights. Visit our web site at, follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

Viewer mail

So I got this email from a gun owner…
Mr. Rothman – I watched your debate regarding why a 33 bullet clip is no different than a 10 or 16 clip as you said the clips can be changed out in a 1/2 second. I am not an owner of this type of gun and you are probably correct that some very skilled people can change clips as fast as you state, but don’t you think that the only people who would really benefit from a 33 bullet clip would be a less skilled user of the weapon as they wouldn’t have to fumble with changing clips?  (Sound like the AZ killer is not as skilled since he was slow in reloading). It seems to me that a clip holding this many bullets does not add any benefit to a responsbile user and those people who can change clips in a 1/2 second wouldn’t need this size of clip anyways. I felt from your interview you did not really believe what you were saying and that a 33 round clip really isn’t necessary.  Don’t you think if he had a 10 round clip less deaths would have resulted?  I am a gun owner (hunting-type) and not some left wing nut.  Just a concerned citizen who thinks that some weapons are really not necessary. Thank you for your time. (Name redacted)
Here’s my reply.
Thanks for writing. The Constitution says, and the Supreme Court recently affirmed — twice — that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental civil right. When it comes to freedoms, citizens don’t need to show necessity; the onus is on the state to show that any restriction of a civil right is “necessary.” Numerous studies attempted to find any impact that the ten-year “assault weapon” ban had on crime. They could not. The biggest problem is that “compromise” with gun-banners is always one-way. If we agreed to a ten-round magazine limit, next year’s proposal would be for five rounds. When they get rid of the scary-looking black rifles, do you think they won’t go for your scoped deer sniper rifle next? We’re in this together. We hope you’ll join us.

How to contact your representative

Contacting your representative at the state or federal level is one of the most effective ways to influence policy. Letters to elected officials serve as barometers of what their districts are thinking. Each letter is presumed to represent thousands of other constituents who did not write. The best part is that it’s easy to do, and hard to do wrong. Here are the basics:
  1. Don’t worry too much about the perfect wording. The elected representative rarely reads letters herself. Instead, a staffer makes a tick-mark on a pro-con tally sheet for the given subject.For that reason, sending any letter is infinitely more important than sending the perfect letter. Just write it!
  2. Keep it short. State your opinion, why you hold it, and what you expect of your representative.
  3. Be yourself. Don’t use a form letter, or something you copied and pasted from online. A one-paragraph letter of honest opinion from you is worth more to your representative than an eloquent letter they receive  a hundred times with different names attached.
  4. Send it on paper. Politicians know how easy it is to shoot off a form email. So go ahead and email, but send a paper letter, too.
  5. Call their offices, too. Again, short and polite is the way to go: “Hello? This is John Smith, and I live in Chaska. I’m calling to let Congressman Kline that I strongly oppose any legislation to further restrict the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”At this point the staffer will probably get your name and address to send you a form letter that thanks you for the contact. Give it to them.
There. That’s it. If you and a couple dozen people do that, you’ve just convinced them that this is a hot button issue in their district. Find your state legislators Find your congressional representative Find your U.S. Senators