Carver County State Representatives Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska) and Ernie Leidiger (R-Mayer) have signed on as co-authors of a compromise gun control bill, H.F. 1323, which contains only measures that have significant bipartisan support. More controversial measures, such as universal background checks and bans on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, are not included in the bill.
Provisions in the bill, chief authored by Debra Hilstrom (D-Brooklyn Center) include:
- requirements to more quickly send state data to the national background check database
- expand the parameters which disqualify people convicted of violent crimes from owning a gun
- increased penalties for illegal gun possession and “straw purchases” (where someone buys a gun on behalf of someone who is prohibited from owning a weapon)
- making it a crime to falsely report a gun as stolen
73 House members (17 DFL, and 56 GOP) are sponsoring the bill, which also has the support of the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association and the National Rifle Association. That’s a majority of the House’s 134 members.
Despite the broad support, however, the bill is not without its critics. House Public Safety Committee Chair Michael Paymar (D-St. Paul), who earlier introduced a bill that included universal background checks, has indicated he won’t give the new bill a committee hearing. In the State Senate, meanwhile, the Judiciary Committee is poised to also move forward a bill containing universal background checks. No Senate version of the Hilstrom bill has been introduced yet, although this bill would seem to fit the parameters of what Sen. Julianne Ortman was talking about when she discussed alternative legislation to the Senate bill (S.F. 235).
Resistance from the critical committee chairs in both houses may mean that supporters will be forced to engage in some parliamentary maneuvering to get this bill to the floor for a vote. This bill clearly opens the fissures in the DFL party on this issue, as well as revealing a gap in the law enforcement community, as the police chiefs and officers have lined up behind bills with universal background checks. It should make for some interesting times at the Capitol over the next two months.