Minnesota legislators pay tribute to Burnsville first responders

Flags at the Minnesota Capitol flew at half-staff on President's Day as a tribute to the Burnsville first responders shot and killed in the line of duty on Feb. 18.

The tragedy loomed on the inside of the Capitol as well, changing some plans and staying front of mind for a lot of legislators.

Legislators representing Burnsville reflected on the tragedy and people on both sides of the aisle contemplated how they might be able to make it less likely to happen again.

Burnsville police officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, as well as Firefighter-Paramedic Adam Finseth, were honored on the floor of the Minnesota Senate on Monday, the day after their deaths.

"We will now have a moment of silence for our fallen heroes," said Senate President Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Minneapolis)

The state House also held a moment of silence shortly after hearing from Rep. Jeff Witte (R-Lakeville), a former Burnsville police officer of 27 years.

"It's a real hard day for our Burnsville family," Rep. Witte said. "Three heroes made the ultimate sacrifice for the Burnsville community."

Senators Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan) and Lindsey Port (DFL-Burnsville) represent parts of Burnsville.

They both expressed their shock at the killings and hope that their community can lift up the survivors.

"As we move forward from this tragedy, let us rally around our law enforcement and first responders with support and understanding as they heal from the trauma of these losses," said Sen. Port (DFL-Burnsville).

Democrats canceled a Senate committee hearing Monday on clarifications to the law for school resource officers in deference to law enforcement. They delivered $300 million extra for public safety during last year’s session.

However, Republicans have criticized them for reducing punishments and adding restrictions on what officers can do.

"I think it'll be a reminder as we write policy that law enforcement needs our help as much as possible," said Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove).

Sen. Carlson told FOX 9 he hasn’t gotten confirmation on all the investigative details yet, but said some gun control restrictions could help law enforcement prevent future tragedies.

"I'm a gun owner," said Sen. Carlson (DFL-Eagan). "But I think that what we need to do is we need to have safes, safe storage. We need to prevent people from getting firearms that shouldn't have them. And also, there's no reason for some of the firearm accessories that we have."