Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-District 46) and Rep. John Lesch (DFL-District 66B) are pushing for five changes to state law that they say would keep guns from people who shouldn’t have them.
At a press conference Thursday, Freeman spelled out the following recommendations included in the legislation that’s been introduced:
- Add domestic abuse by strangulation and felony domestic abuse to the list of violent crimes that keep people from owning guns. Violent offenders are barred from having guns, but the law does not currently apply to domestic abuse by strangulation or felony domestic abuse. “Now we know a lot of abusers carry guns and a lot of abusers tragically use them on their victims,” Freeman said.
- Keep guns away from juvenile offenders. State law already prohibits juveniles from having a gun, but it’s just a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor. “We want to give prosecutors the capacity in certain cases—after multiple offenses—of charging them as an adult and giving them real time,” Freeman said.
- Stop some of the transfer of guns to criminals. “Too often there are people driving around and the person who doesn’t have a felony carries a gun and hands it to the person who does have a felony, who commits a crime,” Freeman said. He wants to classify that as aiding and abetting so that someone who gives or sells a gun to a known felon will do the same time as that felon.
- Extend the ban on felons owning guns to include ammunition, as is the case in federal law. Freeman said people often ditch guns but are caught with ammunition. “In my view, that’s just as bad as carrying the gun,” Freeman said.
- Clarify that people whose commitments are stayed can’t carry guns. Courts often stay commitments so that people can continue to use their own insurance, Freeman said. He wants to specify that those who are judged by “clear and convincing evidence” to be a danger to themselves or others can’t have guns, even if their commitments are stayed.
Watch the three men speak about the proposal in the video above. Hearings on the proposal are scheduled for next week in the House and the end of February in the Senate.