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Good Bill, Bad Bill

Senate hearing tonight

Good Bill, Bad Bill

Tonight in St. Paul, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear two bills: one would strip away your Constitutional rights, and the other would lock up criminals who misuse guns. We need you there.

The hearing starts at 6 p.m. in Room 15 of the State Capitol (on the first floor, below the rotunda). Seating is very limited; arrive early, or expect to watch the hearing from an overflow room. Please wear a maroon shirt, or a GOCRA t-shirt if you have one!

Don’t commit a crime!

Be certain you have submitted your notification before you carry to the capitol!  Anti-gun members of the Senate have been requiring state troopers working at the capitol to check the carry permits of people they see carrying.  If you are approached by a state trooper, be polite, courteous, and let them do their job. They have always been very respectful to us, and we should return the courtesy.

Background Info

There have been a lot of bill numbers and names flying around, so here’s a summary of what’s going on.

Minnesota House

The good:

Rep. Hilstrom (DFL – Brooklyn Center) has introduced a rights-respecting bill*, HF 1325, that focuses on keeping guns away from criminals and the dangerously mentally ill, not law-abiding gun owners. It has 78 bipartisan co-authors — well over half the House — as well as the support of GOCRA, the NRA, the Minnesota Sheriffs Association and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association. Rep Paymar has indicated that he won’t give this widely supported bill a hearing in his committee.

(*You may see this bill called 1323, 1324 and 1325 — so many representatives wanted to sign it that Rep. Hilstrom had to file three identical “clone” bills!)

The bad:

Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL – St. Paul) is the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, and has introduced a rights-violating bill, HF 237,  that would impose universal registration and other fees, penalties and infringements on law-abiding citizens. Rep. Paymar has said that he will hold hearings on his bill next week.

Minnesota Senate

The good:

Sen. Julianne Ortman (R – Chanhassen) introduced SF 1359 yesterday. It’s a companion to Rep. Hilstrom’s rights-respecting bill, and also enjoys the same broad bipartisan and law enforcement support.

The bad:

Sen. Ron Latz (DFL – St. Louis Park) is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has introduced an amended SF 458, a companion to Paymar’s rights-violating bill, . Along with all the worst of the Paymar bill, the Latz bill also contains many of the provisions of the good Hilstrom/Ortman bills. This may indicate that he’s looking for a “compromise.” He won’t get one: all of the leaders on the good bills are firmly opposed to the rights violations in the bad bills.

The Worst Parts of the Bad Bills

Universal Registration:

These bills would require universal registration of pistols and sporting rifles, implemented through a “universal” background check, — twice: The bills would require every sale of such guns to go through a licensed dealer, who would charge $25 per transfer. These transfers would still require a permit to purchase, for which the House bill would charge you another $25 annually.

Rights Delayed

The bills extend the time that sheriffs and police have to process a purchase permit from five to seven business days, and allow the law enforcement official to fingerprint the applicant and extend the deadline to 30 days.

Rights Denied

Easier Carry Permit Denials

The bad bills would allow sheriffs the judgement to deny a carry permit on the basis of a subjective “likelihood” that the applicant was dangerous.

More Difficult Carry Permit Appeals

The bad bills positively encourage abusive denials: they remove the sheriffs’ obligation to pay an applicant’s legal fees when a permit denial is overturned — a safeguard that has kept sheriffs departments honest, and bogus denials fairly low, for almost 10 years.  The Sheriff’s Association has not asked for this unfair reversal of law.

The bad bills also lower the sheriffs’ standard of proof of danger to self or other others from “clear and convincing evidence” to the mere “preponderance of the evidence.”

Due Process Protections Gutted

The bad bills would remove legal protections against losing your firearm rights. Currently, before you lose your right to own a firearm, you must be convicted or committed by a court. Under the new bill, any involuntary hospitalization, even overnight, would disqualify you from owning guns indefinitely.

Making The Law Abiding Into Convicts

The bad bills set a very low standard of proof for conviction of serious gun crimes, using the phrase “knows or has reason to believe” to convict sellers who reports a gun stolen, or who sell a gun to a person who later commits a crime.

More Difficult Civil Rights Restoration

The bad bills increase the difficulty and expense for a person who has paid their debt to society to regain their civil rights.

Please keep calling the members of the House and Senate committees, as well as your own legislator!

See you at the capitol Thursday night!

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