Expect debate about background checks on gun purchases and related measures when the Minnesota Senate this morning takes up a bill to parcel out the state’s 329-million-dollar budget surplus. Saint Louis Park Democrat Ron Latz will propose the state’s existing permit-to-purchase law be extended to private sales of pistols and assault weapons. He says,”This avoids the spectre that has been raised by gun owners and their advocates of a registry.” Latz says information on gun sales would only be accessible to law enforcement by court order involving a criminal investigation. Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk is urging Democrats to support the measure, but it would likely also need Republican votes and it’s not clear whether enough will be forthcoming.
Latz’s proposal to temporarily restrict a person’s access to guns if they’re a danger to themselves or others will also be among measures debated when the Senate takes up that major budget bill. Latz says the gun owner would normally have full due process through a court hearing, and firearms could be taken away more quickly “only in the case where there is an imminent or immediate danger of harm.” Latz says only law enforcement — not a private citizen — could ask the court to temporarily take away someone’s firearms. He says that way an estranged spouse or upset neighbor wouldn’t be able to use the proposed law to harass someone.