Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman is defending DFL plans to add two controversial gun-control measures to the public safety budget bill.
House committee action is expected late Thursday on an amendment related to expanded background checks and another related to court orders to keep firearms from people deemed a risk.
Senate Republicans oppose the measures. But Hortman said House Democrats believe it is important to have a debate.
“If we were to send stand-alone House Files 8 and 9 over to the Minnesota Senate, they would vote them down in committee and the conversation about gun violence prevention for this session would be over,” Hortman said. “We don’t think that’s what Minnesotans want, and that’s not what we’re committed to do.”
Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, also contends the placement in a budget bill is appropriate because each measure has a fiscal impact.
House DFL Majority Leader Ryan Winkler noted that the gun measures need the same number of House votes to pass, whether they are standalone or in a budget bill.
“If we don’t have 68 votes to pass the bill as a standalone, we won’t have 68 votes to pass the public safety bill,” said Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazleka responded on Twitter Wednesday to the planned House DFL maneuver.
Looks like house gun control bills go into Public Safety omnibus budget bill tomorrow, that could spell disaster for end of session. Give the bills a straight up-or-down vote on the floor and we’ll hear gun bills on both sides of the issue in the Senate. #mnleg #2a
— Paul Gazelka (@paulgazelka) April 3, 2019
In a separate tweet, Gazelka, R-Nisswa, rhetorically asked Winkler: “Why are you afraid of a clean vote? The Senate wants to see the true support for these proposals in the House.”