Gun, public safety measures signed into law by Gov. Walz

The debate over red flag laws and universal background checks has been ongoing at the Minnesota State Capitol for years. After being consistently blocked by Republicans lawmakers, Democrats used their majority this session to take those long-talked about proposals and make them law.

"I understand our rights as Americans to do these things, but I refuse to allow extremists to define what responsible gun ownership looks like," said Governor Tim Walz before signing a public safety bill containing the two gun control measures.

The so-called "Red Flag" law allows guns to be temporarily taken from people deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others. The next measure expands background checks to include private gun sales and transfers.

Victims of gun violence, including former Arizona congresswoman and gun control advocate Gabby Giffords spoke at the signing.

"Now is the time to come together and be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, Independents," said Giffords. 

These new laws won't stop all crimes involving guns, but Richfield Police Chief Jay Henthorne says they are a sensible step forward. 

"Family members and law enforcement are often the first people to see these warnings signs as we respond to calls for service of people in mental crisis," said Henthorne.

But according to the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, these laws will do nothing to deter violent crime.

"The impact of these laws will only be felt by peaceable gun owners, who are being imposed with unreasonable barriers to the free exercise of a Constitutionally protected right," said Rob Doar, Senior VP of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.

The organization says they will be closely monitoring the implementation of the new rules and says they stand ready to take possible legal action. 

The new laws will take effect in August.