Dueling gun bills

The issue of stronger gun control measures is as hot in state capitols around the country as it is in Washington. Minnesota is no different, with dueling gun control bills getting attention this week.

One bill would require background checks for all gun purchasers, including those at gun shows who at this time can buy a gun without the background check and waiting period that someone at a gun store has to go through. It would also limit the number of rounds in magazines for semi-automatic weapons.

Another bill would do neither of these things, nor does it ban the sale of military-style assault weapons.

Introduced on Tuesday by Rep. Deb Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, it is supported by the National Rifle Association and its mouthpiece in the Legislature, Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center). The bill would prohibit felons from possessing ammunition, create mandatory minimum prison sentences for violent felons who are convinced of possessing firearms on a second offense and make it a felony for individuals to file false reports of lost or stolen firearms.?It also improves sharing of criminal and mental health data between federal and state governments.

Critics of the bill look askance at any legislation supported by the NRA, which is dead set against any bans on guns, or limits on magazines, or expansion of background checks.

It was touted as a bill that would united legislators and give them something everyone can support. It’s not.

While we don’t see the necessity to ban assault rifles, when plain old handguns are used in so many more gun deaths, we do think anyone who wants to buy a gun, anywhere, should have to undergo a background check that is thorough enough to include any history of mental illness.

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