Minnesota GOP Issues Challenge on Gun Control

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

Minnesota's legislature is Democrat--well, DFL, to be exact since their Democratic Party has a slightly different name--in both chambers, which means a likelihood for some degree of gun control being attempted.

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The issue is that it's not much of an edge. The DFL holds a one-vote lead in the Senate and a six-vote majority in the House.

For DFL supporters, this sucks because it means Republicans can likely gum up the works on a number of issues, especially if rural DFL lawmakers side with them.

That means on critical issues, Republicans can afford to play a little hardball, and on guns and a few other issues, that's precisely what they're doing.

With just a few days left for the Minnesota Legislature to pass bills, it’s still unclear whether there will be action on some of the biggest items at the state Capitol.

There’s still no sign of success in persuading Uber and Lyft to stay in the state, and a deal still needs to be made on close to a billion dollars in infrastructure investments. The last day to vote on bills is Sunday, and lawmakers can only hold floor sessions on four of those remaining days.

Republicans are using the limited time, and a supermajority threshold on public borrowing votes, to pressure DFLer majorities in control of the Senate and House to concede to some of their demands.

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After a late night of filibustering on a DFL-backed bill to ban “junk fees” in the House, GOP leaders on Tuesday told reporters they wouldn’t back a $900 million or so infrastructure bill unless DFLers leave behind the ERA amendment and gun control measures and offer more funding for rural emergency medical services.

“Bipartisanship is going to be the spoonful of sugar that makes this whole end of session go down,” said Sen. Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, who briefed reporters on negotiations at a Tuesday capitol news conference with House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring.

Despite being in the minority, borrowing money for infrastructure, which traditionally happens in even-numbered years, requires a three-fifths majority in both chambers to pass. That’s one of the few leverage points available to Republicans — though it doesn’t just inconvenience DFLers. If Republicans kill a bonding bill, they won’t be able to deliver local projects in their districts either.

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There's nothing super specific being floated that Republicans want killed, but I have to respect the decision. Yes, they might not be able to deliver local projects, but that's an easy spin for a Republican. It's harder for DFLers.

However, you can't get away with this too often or people will just stagger their objectionable bills for years the GOP can't pull this kind of thing.

But this is this year, not last year or next. This year, they can get away with it, and they should. As it stands, Minnesota's DFL has a slim majority but they've pushed unconstitutional gun control like their legislature mimics California's.

It doesn't.

The truth is that the right to bear arms matters. It matters so much that taking drastic steps to protect it are warranted.

Now the DFL has to decide if there's anything they're pushing for that's worth costing them some important votes they need for their constituents; votes that Republicans can theoretically benefit from by them not happening at all.

I don't think they'll like that math all that much.

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