Minnesota sheriffs displeased with gun control proposals

Minnesota sheriffs displeased with gun control proposals
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

For the most part, I don’t think of Minnesota as “urban.” Sure, they’ve got the Twin Cities, but they also have a lot of people who just want to hunt and fish their life away while others farm for the umpteenth generation.


Yet the state is pretty far to the left in a lot of ways, which means those urban centers are overriding the more rural parts of the state.

That means new gun control is just on the horizon.

However, a number of Minnesota sheriffs aren’t exactly thrilled with what they’re seeing.

There are four gun control bills on the docket this session, including HF 396, a safe storage mandate. The bill would require gun owners to store their firearms unloaded, with a locking device, and apart from ammunition whenever they are not being carried.

Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson and Itasca County Sheriff Joe Dasovich spoke out against the bill last week.

They are now joined by Crow Wing County Sheriff Eric Klang, Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk, St. Louis County Sheriff Gordon Ramsay, Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander, and Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting.

“This bill inhibits the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families when a threat of great bodily harm or death is imposed. If we cannot have a loaded firearm easily accessible to protect ourselves, especially in our own home, are we expected to have the criminal wait until we locate our ammunition and load our weapons?” Glander wrote in a letter to legislators.


Glander’s question isn’t sarcasm, either. At least, I don’t take it as such. It’s a perfectly valid question because that’s at the heart of these proposals that require weapons and ammunition to be stored in separate locked containers.

Further, these measures make it significantly harder for poor folks in Minnesota to be able to comply with it. Locked containers don’t exactly grow in the garden, now do they?

No, they cost money. That’s money that many people simply don’t have, especially with prices having been as stupid as we’ve seen over the last couple of years.

The truth of the matter is that this likely isn’t even constitutional in the first place.

The Heller decision hinged on a similar DC measure, after all, which rendered guns practically useless for self-defense. The exception of a quick-access safe isn’t, in my opinion, a viable workaround, either.

Again, this also makes it so those of better financial means can have the means to defend themselves in Minnesota, whereas the less well-off won’t.


They typically can’t afford a quick-access gun safe on top of the cost of a gun and ammunition. Those are a couple of hundred dollars, after all, which means that in order to comply with the law, they’d have to drop about as much for a special safe as they would for an inexpensive handgun.

And forget doing that with a shotgun, a popular home defense option. Even if a good shotgun costs less, the safe for it is going to make that option prohibitive.

For Minnesota, this is a terrible idea. I’m glad to see some sheriffs speak out. I just wish it wasn’t necessary.

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