Gov. Walz calls for gun reform at Capitol rally

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Gov. Tim Walz made a call for immediate action on gun reform as hundreds gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Wednesday.

The rally followed two mass shootings in Ohio and Texas over the weekend.

“We don’t want Minnesotans to die in a mass shooting in order to get the attention of our senate leadership in Minnesota,” said Nancy Bence, of Protect Minnesota.

“Why are we waiting for the next session?” asked the Governor. “We’ll bring ‘em back here. Let’s have the vote on red flags and background checks. We’ll sign it with this pen and we can do it this week and finish this.”

The call Wednesday was for comprehensive background checks on all gun buyers and the passing of red flag laws, which would give police the authority to temporarily confiscate guns from people who are deemed dangerous.

Versions of both bills passed the house last session, but died in the Republican-led senate.

“When you talk about taking weapons and privately owned items away from someone, you have to have due process. That’s step one,” said Senator Andrew Laang.(R- Willmar). “And then you can’t have the background check discussion without also discussing mental health.”

Lang said his caucus is always willing to work with the governor, and he anticipates bi-partisan meetings on the subject in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Gun Owner’s Caucus is lobbying against both universal background check and red flag bills.

“Let’s focus on getting the individual the help they need and not operate under the false premise that once the firearm is gone, their crisis is over,” said Rob Doar, of the Minnesota Gun Owner’s Caucus.

“Even if a law isn’t going to stop every incident of gun violence,” said Bence. “It will stop many.”