Session’s first gun bill introduced

Legislation introduced today in the Minnesota Senate would prevent some convicted felons from owning guns after they’ve served their sentence.

The measure would eliminate the right of violent felons to petition the court to have their ability to possess a firearm restored. Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, said her bill would target people who’ve used a gun to commit a violent crime. Goodwin said she also wants to move the job of restoring a person’s gun rights from judges to the state Board of Pardons.

“I am not against, in fact am in favor, of giving formerly convicted felons their voting rights back,” Goodwin said. “Anything you can do to make them a member of society, productive member of society, I’m all for that. But I’m not comfortable giving their firearms back.”

Goodwin introduced a similar bill two years ago, but it never received a committee hearing.

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said he thinks the bill is a solution in search of a problem.

“If it’s gun control they’re looking for here, I’m not sure what she’s trying to do,” Ingebrigtsen said. “But obviously because of the shootings, that’s become kind of on the front burner around here. I think it’s going to do absolutely nothing.”

Ingebrigtsen, who’s a former county sheriff, said he would rather see a focus this session on addressing mental health issues.