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Minnesota Dems Deploy Late Night Tricks to Pass Gun Control Bill

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

The 2024 legislative session in Minnesota has wrapped up, but not before some last-minute moves to pass a gun control bill. Democrats were unsuccessful in adopting HF 2609 as a standalone bill, so instead they included it in a supplemental spending bill that was approved along party lines in a chaotic floor vote where Republicans were sidelined from making objections or amendments. 

The bill, which would ban binary triggers and anything else that law enforcement believes "increases the rate of fire to that of a machine gun", was inserted into the supplemental spending bill about 90 minutes before the session ended, though Second Amendment supporters and anyone else looking to read the text of the spending bill before a vote was held were out of luck. 

To get an idea of just how far the session descended into a banana republic in the closing minutes, take a look at this video posted by Rob Doar of the MN Gun Owners Caucus. 

The Democrats (technically the DFL) were deaf to the cacophony of opposition from the Republican caucus in the House, and things didn't get any better when the spending bill was rushed over to the upper chamber. 

I have no doubt that Walz will sign the spending bill with the binary trigger ban and other DFL priorities intact. The Minnesota governor has the power to exercise line-item vetoes in appropriations bills, but the governor has already indicated his support for the measure, which also increases the penalties for straw purchases

If the legislation confined itself to additional prison time for those who bought a gun for someone not legally allowed to own one, the bill would likely have cleared both chambers with bipartisan support long before the session was drawing to a close. By including the trigger ban, the DFL made the bill so controversial that the House and Senate ended up with differing versions, which sent the bill to a conference committee. It was that committee's language that was inserted into the spending bill, allowing both chambers to sidestep a final vote on a standalone bill. 

MN Gun Owners Caucus chairman Bryan Strawser said afterward that he's "never seen anything like the crap and shenanigans that went on last night," but honestly, the DFL's been telegraphing its intent to enact its priorities no matter what for several weeks now. After DFL Senator Nicole Mitchell was arrested on felony burglary charges, the DFL caucus stripped her of her committee assignments and barred her from caucus meetings, but still allowed her to cast the deciding vote on dozens of bills on the Senate floor and pushed back an ethics investigation until after the session had concluded. After that ridiculous exercise in avoiding accountability, nothing the DFL could have done would have surprised me, including attaching unrelated gun control legislation to a budget bill in the waning minutes of the session. 

The trigger ban is likely to face a legal challenge once Walz signs the supplemental spending bill, but the Caucus is also looking to have an impact on the makeup of the legislature this fall. With the DFL holding just a one-seat advantage in the Senate, gun owners in Minnesota have the opportunity to turn the chamber into a firewall safeguarding our Second Amendment rights. It won't be easy, but it's still the best way to stop even more egregious attacks on our rights from being enacted into law next session.