Minnesota Panel Advances Universal Background Checks

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

It’s not just the U.S. House of Representatives and New Mexico that are embracing universal background checks this week. Not by a long shot.

It seems that despite arguments against them throughout the nation, including a Department of Justice study that showed most criminals get their guns illegally in the first place, some states are going to push for universal background checks regardless.

Among them is Minnesota, where a panel just advanced universal background checks.

A Minnesota panel on Wednesday, Feb. 27, advanced a bill that would require universal background checks for firearm purchases and transfers.

The House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division on a 9-7 vote approved the bill and sent it to the House Ways and Means Committee. The decision came around 10 p.m. after hours of emotional testimony from supporters and opponents who flocked to the Capitol to advocate for their positions.

Just after 10 p.m., lawmakers launched into testimony on another bill that would let law enforcement remove a person’s guns if they posed a danger to themselves or others. They ended their meeting around Midnight prior to taking action on the bill.

Supporters of the background check bill said the checks were needed to curb gun violence in the state and keep guns out of the hands of those who aren’t legally allowed to have them. Opponents, meanwhile, said the bill wouldn’t have the desired effect and instead would penalize lawful gun owners.

“This is about human lives,” Burnsville resident Bob Mokos told the committee. Mokos, a gun control advocate, said he was a gun owner and his sister was fatally shot decades ago. “I, for one, am weary about the children in this country being the price we pay for the Second Amendment.”

Opponents, including gun owners and gun rights advocates, said the bill could penalize those gun owners who aim to obey the law.

“This law will harass law-abiding gun owners,” said Joe Olson, a law professor at Mitchell Hamline and a gun rights advocate. “It will produce no net change in reducing any kind of crime or suicide.”

No, it won’t.

But, more and more, I’m inclined to think that reducing crime isn’t the goal.

We all know the thing about boiling a frog. If you drop him in hot water, he hops out, so you have to turn the water up slowly. Universal background checks are just that, a single notch hotter setting on the stove.

Not to get all tin-foil hat here, but there are plenty of states with universal background checks and a surplus of armed criminals who haven’t been deterred in the least. There’s ample evidence that such laws don’t work, yet they’re still pushed for regardless. There has to be a reason. Either gun control advocates are insane–after all, isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result?–or they know it won’t work and don’t care.

Failure of a gun control law is rarely ever used to justify repealing it. Instead, it’s used to justify even more expansion to gun control regulations. It’s hard not to wonder if this push has more to do with what anti-gunners want next.

After all, California has the toughest gun control laws in the nation, yet how’s its crime rate doing? What about Chicago?

Gun control doesn’t work, but they keep pushing it nonetheless. It’s hard not to get a little paranoid, you know?

I hope that cooler heads prevail in Minnesota and recognize this scheme as a complete and total failure.