AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Minnesota’s legislature is an interesting place right now.
You have Democrats controlling the House while Republicans control the Senate. Yes, it’s just like at the national level. However, state-level politics has always had such fascinating ramifications just because everything’s a bit more compact geographically. People are more likely to be involved and to personally know the lawmakers on some level.
What’s really interesting right now, though, is Minnesota’s GOP has seemingly signaled its willingness to hear a gun control bill in the Senate, yet Democrats are upset anyway.
Minnesota’s top Senate Republican is opening the door for hearings on two gun control bills, but there’s a catch.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said the House would have to pass both bills first. One measure requires background checks for all gun sales, while the other would allow police to seize guns from a person whom a judge deems a threat.
The measures have passed two House committees controlled by Democrats, but have been stuck in the Senate. Two weeks ago, the Senate Judiciary committee chairman said he would not hold hearings on either bill.
“I just think sooner or later, we’re going to have to have the conversation,” Gazelka said, when asked about the apparent reversal. “I would personally rather have it sooner than later – if the House is willing to move the bills.”
Gazelka said any hearing would include bills some Republicans favor, including self-defense legislation known as “stand your ground.”
Senate Democrats said the conditional offer was not serious and announced plans to hold a hearing of their own to publicize the background check bill.
In other words, the House would have to actually pass the legislation for the Senate to consider it. That and they’re not going to just talk about the Democrats ideas.
Honestly, this amuses me more than it probably should.
First, the Senate is going to make the House vote on the bills, knowing that if it fails, they can’t be blamed. If it does pass, they’ve only agreed to let it be heard in committee, which doesn’t mean it’ll even make it to the floor for a vote.
Further, they’re making it clear that they’re also going to talk about some pro-gun legislation and Democrats who don’t like it can deal.
To be honest, I like it.
Now, I’m not thrilled with committees even hearing gun control legislation, but since that’s inevitable, the least we can do is watch pro-gun lawmakers make anti-gunners squirm.
It’s weird, though. This is the second time in recent weeks we’ve seen Democrats upset over Republican willingness to discuss a topic. Between this and the New Green Deal, I’m beginning to think the Democrats aren’t really interested in legislating much of anything.
Could that be true?
I mean, they tend to prefer lecturing people about what they should think and feel rather than trying to find things they actually can get done, so it’s entirely possible. Why else would they keep fixating on gun control as a means to deal with crime rather than sitting down with Republicans and trying to find other things that both sides might be able to agree on?