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Opinions Vary After Failure of Gun Control Bills

May 16, 2019 11:52 AM

(ABC 6 News) - At the Minnesota Capitol, two controversial gun control laws have been shot down. Members of the Rochester chapter of “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” say the move is “disappointing and frustrating”.

On Tuesday, House and Senate negotiators voted on party lines. The 5-5 conference committee vote means neither measure will make it into the main public safety budget bill.

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The "Red Flag" law would allow authorities to temporarily confiscate firearms from people deemed an imminent threat to themselves and others.

“I think the Red Flag law would be a useful tool in preventing mass shootings,” said Alisha Eiken with the Rochester chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “The Parkland shooting is a great example. The shooter in that shooting showed warning signs and law enforcement wasn't really able to do anything about it.”

However, the Owner of the American Gunsmith & Gun Shop in Rochester says the Red Flag law leaves too much room for people to abuse it. “You could get into people spiting other people,” said Gary Schoenmann. “Let’s say you got into a fight with your boyfriend and you knew he had 10 guns and you call the police and make a false report … they will go and take his guns away when, technically, he did nothing wrong.”

“The Red Flag law has robust due process in place and so I don't think its infringing on anything,” said Eiken.

“There’s policies out there that do exist,” said Schoenmann. “I store firearms for people that have been told by the courts they can’t have any firearms. It may not be them personally, it may be because of a spouse or a sibling. There's already a system in place and it needs to be worked out better; it's the courts, law enforcement and the medical field.”

The second measure halted by the committee would expand background checks to include private gun sales. 

“There's no good, logical reason that there shouldn't be a background check on every single gun sale,” said Eiken. “This background bill that's currently in the Minnesota House is incredibly reasonable. It excludes most hunting guns, so it only applies to handguns and military-style assault weapons.”

Schoenmann says while it’s not required, people who privately sell guns will often take the extra step to go through an FFL dealer for the transfer. “Say you're a law-abiding citizen and I don't see any risk but what if somebody was to steal it [the gun I just sold you] from you and do something bad with it? There's a good chance that there's going to be lawyers involved at some point,” he said. “The liability as it rests with that firearm can still come back to you.”

Schoenmann’s question to lawmakers … “How are you going to beat the black market? That's what happens to anything that gets heavily regulated,;you drive deeper into the black market. That’s always going to exist; your gangbangers and felons, that black market is never going to go away.”

However, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America says certain laws can help address gun violence. “We fully support the Second Amendment,” said Eiken. “We just know the way we are doing things in our country and specifically our state aren’t working. We are still hopeful that these [two laws] will be passed at the end of the session. If it doesn't happen this year, we will follow through next session.”

While the two proposals failed the conference committee, they could still come up again this session. However, it’s unlikely.

KAAL-TV

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