Public safety bill headed to governor’s desk, locals weigh-in on gun control measures

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(ABC 6 News) – Minnesota joining a growing list of states in creating stronger gun control laws, with a $880 million dollar public safety bill has passing through the House and Senate this last week.

It includes many new policies, but what’s really inciting conversations are new gun control measures that will require background checks for gun sales, as well as a red flag law that allows guns to be taken away from people considered a danger to themselves or others.

Many are celebrating what they call milestones on the path to safer communities, while others say the provisions do not do much to protect people from gun violence.

“I don’t know how anybody that lives in the United States right now can say that gun violence is not a problem,” said Susie Kaufman, the incoming leader of the Minnesota Moms Demand Action pro-gun control organization. “People cannot go to the grocery store, to places of worship, to school, to movie theaters, to malls without worrying about the threat of gun violence.”

The new measures have been called a saving grace by supporters, but others say they’re unconstitutional.

“They’re well aware that these laws are unconstitutional but yet they try to force them through because they feel like they have to do something. They do nothing to prevent what were trying to achieve,” said Gregory Kemple, a local gun owner.

With the bill focused on public safety some, including members of law enforcement, say that it lacks real solutions to keeping people safe.

“Frustrating for us here in law enforcement because we know that,” explained Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson.

In fact, Sheriff Torgerson says more than 90% of the gun violence in Olmsted County is not committed by legal gun owners.

“The majority of these cases are unlicensed people and illegal people who shouldnt have these weapons,” Sheriff Torgerson explained.

Gun owners across the area are sounding the alarm, arguing that these new measures impede on people’s second amendment rights.

“These laws that they try to get through won’t help any more safe environments for the people in our state. It’s a figment of their imagination,” said Kemple.

However people who support the legislation say that this is just the foundation and first steps to prevent gun violence.

“We are not against guns, we are not against the second amendment, we are just supportive of responsible gun ownership, safe storage and the fact is that majority of Minnesotans do support these bills,” Kaufman argued.

The public safety bill is headed to the governor’s desk where he is expected to sign it into law Friday.

In June, sheriffs across the state will meet to hammer out the details of how these red flag laws and expanded background checks can be enforced.