Senate Judiciary Chairman Ron Latz (DFL-District 46) said gun control proposals like his are only generating controversy because of the larger debate about how to regulate firearms in the wake of the Newtown, CT shooting.
In an interview with Senate Media Service’s Capitol Report last week, Latz pitched his five-part package as a commonsense approach that’s simply intended to keep gun from people who shouldn’t have them.
“This is not an attack on gun rights,” Latz said. “That’s already well established in the Constitution and by the Supreme Court. This is simply what form of regulation we should use for a lawful but dangerous product.”
Latz, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and St. Paul Rep. John Lesch (DFL-District 66B) are pushing for a bill that would:
- Add domestic abuse by strangulation and felony domestic abuse to the list of violent crimes that keep people from owning guns;
- Make it a felony for juveniles to have guns in certain cases;
- Classify giving or selling a gun to a known felon as aiding and abetting;
- Extend the ban on felons owning guns to include ammunition, as is the case in federal law and
- Clarify that people whose commitments are stayed can’t carry guns.
Latz—whose district includes Golden Valley, Hopkins, Plymouth and St. Louis Park—said proposals like those would pass with almost no dissent in a less divisive political climate.
“Too much around here has people locked into doctrinaire positions, and they’re not even willing to listen to the alternative viewpoint—let alone adjust theirs a little bit to make some progress on areas—and this is the kind of legislation that has traditionally caused a lot of dissension among people,” Latz said. “I’m hopeful in the approach that I’m taking is that we can find that common ground.
But the Legislature has numerous gun-control proposals—about dozen in the House and five in the Senate. Many of those bills go well beyond the measure Latz is pushing. Vernon Center Rep. Tony Cornish (R-District 23B) told Capitol Report that makes gun owners skeptical of proposals like Latz’s five-point plan.
“Gun control advocates lied to us. They said, ‘We’ll never come after your long guns. We’ll never go after registration.’ Here they are. A bill we have today is not only registering it, but agreeing to inspections by the police to see if you’re compliant and then when you pass on, turning it back in to the government,” said Cornish, the Republican lead on the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee. “That just scares the heck out of some of us gun owners, so we have to have more trust they’ll do what they say before we sign on to any bills.
Click play on the YouTube video above to watch the full interviews. Latz’s interview starts at 10:40. Cornish’s interview starts at 16:35. Share your thoughts in the comments below when you're done.