Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, had some harsh words Wednesday for those who say the Senate should just pass a gun control bill that was negotiated by House Democrats and Republicans, the Minnesota Sheriffs Association and gun rights groups.
The group announced legislation today that would forbid convicted felons from possessing ammunition (they’re already banned from possessing firearms) and increase penalties for so-called straw purchases, where people buy guns for others who are forbidden to own them. The bill would also speed up disclosure to a federal database that lists mentally ill people who shouldn’t carry a weapon.
The measure doesn’t include universal background checks for gun purchases – which the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance oppose. Latz says he’ll continue to push for universal background checks regardless of the NRA’s position.
“I won’t concede that the NRA runs the state Senate.” Latz said. “I’m not going to do something or not do something just because the NRA says do it or don’t do it.”
Latz said he believes the Senate Judiciary Committee has the votes to pass universal background checks.
Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, said he’ll continue to push for background checks in the Public Safety Committee which he chairs, despite signs that the committee won’t approve a bill including that provision.
Gov. Dayton told reporters today that he supports expanded background checks but wouldn’t say whether he’d veto gun legislation that didn’t include the language.
Andrew Rothman, with the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, said he believes background checks won’t reach Dayton’s desk.
“He’s going to have to decide the same thing Rep. Paymar is,” Rothman said. “Gov. Dayton is going to have to decide whether he wants to sign a good bill or veto a good bill and get nothing.”
Rothman said the alternative legislation focuses on those who shouldn’t own guns while protecting the constitutional rights of everyone else.
The so-called compromise legislation does not have a Senate author yet.