This Thursday, April 28th the Minnesota House Public Safety Committee will hear HF1467, an omnibus gun bill commonly referred to as “Shoot First.” Introduced by Tony Cornish (R), “Shoot First” would:
- Radically rewrite and expand existing self-defense law to include peaceable and lawful entry where there is some minor physical act, such as turning a doorknob or opening an unlatched gate. The proposed law significantly extends the places where this standard applies to include fenced yards, garages or sheds, or occupied vehicles – even if the person approaching is peaceable, unarmed, and not making any threats. This includes postal workers, volunteers, neighbors, children playing, and kids delivering the newspaper.
- Require that Minnesota recognize all other states’ permits to carry pistols, allowing out- of-staters to carry loaded guns in public in Minnesota without restriction or oversight. Minnesota would be forced to recognize permits even from states like Indiana, where permits are valid for life; and Georgia, Idaho, South Dakota, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Mississippi, where no gun safety training is required and background check standards are among the lowest in the country.
- Impose a blanket restriction on the ability of Minnesota law enforcement to confiscate guns and gun purchase permits, including during emergencies, which would limit officers’ ability to remove firearms from the homes of domestic abusers.
- Weaken the existing state background check system. By extending the validity of all existing permits from one to five years, it would allow more disqualified people to buy guns by expanding the time between possible commission of a crime and the expiration of the permit.
Protect Minnesota works statewide to end gun violence, and we’re organizing to try to stop “Shoot First” from becoming law. We know that to end gun violence, we need to invest in our public schools. We know that the root causes of gun violence are systemic, multi-issue, and interconnected, and that they track racial, social, and economic inequality. We know that violence is always an issue of community – of how we treat and relate to one another. At the same time, we also know that sensible gun laws are the cornerstone of safe gun ownership and safe neighborhoods.
“Shoot First” would dismantle the system of laws in Minnesota that has for years kept a balance between gun ownership and public safety. So much so that the Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association, the County Attorneys Association, and other statewide law enforcement associations have come out against the bill.
The corporate gun industry funnels millions of dollars a year into promoting bills like these and to putting legislators who will drive these bills into office. Together, we can stop bills like these from becoming law, and make clear to legislators that we have a better vision for our communities. Go to www.protectmn.org to take action, and join us tomorrow at the Public Safety Committee hearing, 10a.m. State Office Building Rm. 1467
Liz Loeb is a TakeAction Minnesota member and the Policy and Organizing Director for Protect Minnesota, Working to End Gun Violence