Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz proclaimed that the addition of a “red flag” law and a new “universal background check” mandate that doubles as a backdoor gun registry won’t impact legal gun owners as he signed an omnibus public safety bill into law on Friday; an assertion that will likely soon be tested in the courts.
Walz’s comments are already generating a lot of eye-rolling among gun owners in the state, especially since Gabby “No More Guns” Giffords was standing by his side as he spouted off his dubious claims.
“I understand our rights as Americans… but I refuse to allow extremists to define what responsible gun ownership looks like and to make this about the 2nd Amendment. This is not about the 2nd Amendment, this is about the safety of our children and our community,” Walz said ahead of signing the bill.
“It has taken decades of organizing and rallies and marches and meetings, years of hope and years of heartbreak to get us here today,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan added. “Public safety is just that. Safety for everyone. Because everyone deserves to be safe and valued and protected in their schools, in their homes, at the grocery store, at the movies, and throughout their communities.”
Also in attendance for the bill signing was former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived a shooting in 2011.
“Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, Independents. We must never stop fighting. Fight! Fight! Fight!” Giffords said.
Fighting for public safety? I’m all on board. Targeting my ability to protect myself and my family in the name of public safety? Not a chance.
And make no mistake, it’s the generally law-abiding gun owners in Minnesota who will feel the effects of these new provisions, particularly the cumbersome and constitutionally-suspect background check law. As Rob Doar of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus recently explained to Bearing Arms:
All transfers of firearms, even a temporary loan, must either go through a federal firearms licensee or a local police department, which would issue a “permit to purchase” for the transferee. As Doar explains, Democrats have touted this as a way for rural gun owners to avoid having to travel several hours to their nearest gun store to conduct the transfer, but gives departments up to 30 days to issue the permit. So much for convenience, right? And since there are only limited exemptions for temporary transfers, if a rural resident loans a buddy a rifle to use during deer season, not only will the recipient of the rifle have to acquire a permit-to-purchase, but the original owner of the gun will have to do so as well when it comes time to get their gun back.
This is not only a giant middle finger to gun owners across the state, but a particular “**** you” to rural gun owners, who can now either drive many miles to their nearest gun store every time they want to sell or loan a gun to a friend or neighbor, or head on over to their local police department and wait a month for the overworked and understaffed officers to process their permit-to-purchase.
As for the “red flag” law, Doar says the Extreme Risk Protection Order process suffers from the same lack of due process that we’ve seen in every other state where they’re already in place:
The “red flag” provision, for instance, is still lacking basic due process protections like a court-appointed attorney for those who can’t afford one, and it still allows for ex parte hearings where the subject of the petition is not allowed to present a defense (or is even aware that a hearing is taking place). Doar also informed us that while Minnesota lawmakers have passed legislation banning “no-knock” raids, there’s nothing in the “red flag” language that bars law enforcement from engaging in that practice when it comes to “temporarily” confiscating firearms. That’s not only a glaring bit of hypocrisy on the part of lawmakers, but something that could very well put both police and the subject of any Extreme Risk Protection Order at risk.
Shortly after Walz signed the omnibus public safety bill the Gun Owners Caucus released a statement panning both the gun control policies and the process by which they were enacted, as well as hinting at a lawsuit in the near future.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Governor has signed these provisions into law without so much as a stand-alone floor vote in the Senate,” said Bryan Strawser, Chairman of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus. “If these measures were truly as popular as the Governor claims, there would be no need to bury these provisions in an omnibus bill. The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus will be closely monitoring the implementation of these laws, and, in conjunction with our national partners, we stand ready to take possible legal action.”
… “Peaceable gun owners across Minnesota should be alarmed about the extent of the DFL trifecta’s anti-gun agenda, ” added Doar. “The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus will continue working to protect and expand Minnesotans’ Second Amendment rights as we did at the legislature this session by defeating bans on commonly owned magazines and firearms – and in court where we successfully sued to overturn unconstitutional infringements that prevented young adults from exercising their Second Amendment rights.”
Fire up the printers and bring on the plaintiffs. Just don’t expect the public to be any safer as a result of today’s action by Gov. Walz, or for the anti-gunners to walk away now that they’ve gotten a taste of success in the legislature. These infringements are a step backwards for public safety, but they’re only the first steps towards the ultimate goal of the gun prohibitionists like Giffords.