Twelve Democratic–Farmer–Labor party members in the Minnesota House of Representatives introduced a bill Monday that purports to address the school shooter problem and increase public safety.
Instead of addressing the root of the problem, however, the bill instead would implement a complete assault weapons ban, a silencer ban, a bump stock ban, a ban on private transfer of all guns, and a high capacity magazine ban later this year. Those who violate these bans will face felony charges.
Currently legal to own in Minnesota, a bump stock and a silencer will be illegal once the bill is made law. Silencers have only been legal in Minnesota since 2015, when Governor Dayton signed into law a bill allowing citizens to have them in their possession.
The bill classifies an assault weapon:
(1) semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has
one or more of the following:
(i) a pistol grip or thumbhole stock;
(ii) any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the
(iii) a folding or telescoping stock; or
(iv) a shroud attached to the barrel or that partially or completely encircles the barrel
allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned, but
excluding a slide that encloses the barrel;
Any ownership of these assault weapons prior to February 1st, 2018 will be grandfathered into the legislation and will not have to comply with the ban. If they intend to keep these weapons, they must submit to a background check and pay a yearly registration fee to the government. Those who fail to comply will be committing a felony and face up to five years in jail and/or up to a $25,000 fine.
However, any purchases made after February 1st, 2018 will be illegal and owners will be required to destroy their weapons or turn them into the local police. Those who do not comply will face a felony conviction, a maximum of five years in jail, and/or a $25,000 fine.
The jail-time maximums and monetary penalties rise if the individual has prior history of violent crimes.
In addition, any individual who is found guilty of violent crime forfeit their rights to all firearms for the rest of their life under this new bill. Even if they have paid their debt to society, the bill eliminates their second amendment rights for life.
The bill will also ban any sale and/or transfer of any firearm unless one of the parties is licensed by the federal government. This effectively makes illegal all private gun sales and transfers, requiring extensive background checks and paperwork should a private citizen in Minnesota want to sell their own weapon to another individual.
The bill also holds the transferring party liable for any crime that is committed by the transferree if the transferree is banned from owning or possessing a firearm in Minnesota under the bill.
High capacity magazines, those with more than ten rounds in them, are also banned under the new law. The law designates that any sale, transference, and the mere possessing of said magazines is a felony, unless a person belongs to a designated class, like a police officer or the military.
Again, as in the case with the assault weapons ban, anyone found guilty of violating this provision will face a felony conviction, up to five years in jail, and/or up to a $25,000 fine.
The penalties become much more stringent if the offending individual is tried under an extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecution. An extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecution results in the juvenile being charged with both the adult and juvenile sentencing, with the adult penalties stayed by the court, providing that they maintain good behavior for a certain period of time.
If any juvenile with an extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecution case is found to be violating any section of this law, the penalties for violation increase to a maximum of twenty years in jail and/or up to a $100,000 fine.
Finally, the bill also allows for the government to seize any and all firearms from anyone owing court mandated child support. After making the attempt to notify the individual, the government will be allowed to seize all firearms owned by the obligee.
The Minnesota State House of Representatives is currently controlled by the Republican party by a margin of 19 votes, while the State Senate is controlled by Republicans by a mere single vote. In order to pass this legislation, there would need to be mass defections from the Republican party in both the House and Senate and for the entire Democrat-Farmer-Labor caucus to remain united. That is a tall order, even for a historically Democrat (but increasingly Republican trending) state like Minnesota.