Key Democrats still on the fence about Minnesota gun control measures

AP Photo/Steven Senne

We’re a long way from the end of this year’s legislative session in Minnesota and its far too early to celebrate yet, but there are some hopeful signs for Second Amendment advocates in the state who are working to defeat several onerous bills. As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports, while the DFL-controlled House has already approved multiple anti-gun pieces of legislation the prospects for the measures are still murky in the state Senate, where the DFL has just a one-vote majority. In order for any gun bills to get to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk the caucus can’t afford to lose any of its members, but at the moment there are three DFL senators who are on the fence or have expressed concerns about the bills.


Three freshman DFL senators — Robert Kupec of Moorhead, Grant Hauschild of Hermantown and Judy Seeberger of Afton — all said they have concerns with certain gun control bills.

The three main gun bills being considered would expand criminal background checks to cover most private firearm transfers, create a “red-flag law” allowing authorities to temporarily take guns away from people deemed dangerous and require gun owners to store their firearms unloaded and separately from their ammunition.

Kupec said he has issues with all the gun bills but declined to discuss his specific positions, citing ongoing negotiations. He said he can envision himself voting for new restrictions with the right bill, but added: “I don’t know if we’re going to get there or not.”

Hauschild and Seeberger both expressed concern about the firearm storage bill, saying they oppose requiring gun owners to store their guns and ammunition separately.

Seeberger said Democrats need to strike the right balance between addressing gun violence and respecting Second Amendment rights.

Gun-rights advocates have already singled out Hauschild with radio and digital advertisements in his district, telling constituents to call him because he could potentially be the decisive vote on gun bills. “We are one vote away from extreme gun control in Minnesota,” one ad said.

The first-term senator hasn’t yet taken a public position on the background-check and red-flag bills, saying he’s still discussing them with “constituents and sheriffs and police.”


With “ongoing negotiations” anything can happen, so gun owners are not out of the woods yet. But the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus is cautiously optimistic, even as it encourages gun owners to keep up their pressure on lawmakers.

As we’ve seen in other blue states like Oregon and Illinois, county sheriffs are also speaking out in opposition to the gun control proposals in the Minnesota legislature. So far more than 60 sheriffs have voiced their objections to one or more of the anti-gun bills, and the list continues to grow longer.


There’s going to be enormous pressure on these freshman DFL senators to stick with the caucus and deliver a win for gun control activists, and none of them have closed the door to supporting the bills when they get to the Senate floor for a final vote. Like I said, it’s too early to celebrate, but there are plenty of reasons for Second Amendment activists to keep up their contacts and urge these senators to actually go after violent criminals instead of criminalizing responsible gun owners and the right to keep and bear arms.

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