Bipartisan gun control bills face uphill battle at Minnesota Capitol

At the Minnesota Capitol, two Democrats and two Republicans came together to announce a pair of bills aimed at reducing gun violence.

“You’re going to hear these bills don’t go far enough and you’re going to hear they go way too far,” said Sen. Matt Little (DFL – Lakeville).

The senators say they’re aware of the political risk, but felt the need to act.

“And so if it means losing my seat, it means losing my seat,” said Sen. Paul Anderson (R – Plymouth).

“I don’t think I’m going to lose my seat over this issue, but if I do - que sera,” said Sen. Scott Jensen, (R – Chaska).  

One bill focuses on universal background checks, closing the gun show and private sale loophole.

“Making sure criminal background checks are applied to all firearm purchases just makes sense,” said Sen. Susan Kent (DFL – Woodbury).

The second bill requires lost or stolen guns be reported to police as a way to stop a tactic used by straw buyers, who sell guns to people who otherwise can’t get them.

“Some people will say that this won’t stop the next school shooting, but they simply cannot know that and it just might,” said Little.

But a statement from Majority Leader Paul Gazelka indicates the pair of bipartisan bills won’t go far.

“Making schools safer for Minnesota kids is a priority for Republicans,” said Gazelka in a statement. “There is no time to waste on ideas that don’t work or have no chance of passing the Legislature this year.”

In the meantime, a Senate bill to provide schools more money for safety improvements and mental health programs moved through committees in a hearing on Monday. Another hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. 

“There are things that we can do,” said Sen. Carla Nelson, (R-Rochester). “We must be responsible looking at those things that can help keep our students safer when they’re in our schools, that is our responsibility.”