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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Shane Mekeland (R)

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Report from the House

Monday, February 25, 2019

Dear Neighbor,

Decisions I make in serving the people of District 15B are largely guided by two documents: The Bible and the Constitution.

As for the latter, the Second Amendment – guaranteeing our right to bear arms – is near and dear to me. That’s why I am sending this message to let people know the House plans to conduct committee hearings for two separate bills this week that would compromise our Second Amendment rights. I strongly oppose both bills and hope people from our area will join me in exercising our voices in favor of preserving our right to keep and bear arms as provided in the Constitution.

The House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division will be conducting the hearings at the Capitol. Here is a quick overview of each proposal:

Background Check Bill (HF8): This bill would prevent routine transfers between friends and family. Also, permits to purchase would be limited to one firearm every thirty days, effectively creating a state level gun registry.

This would create more bureaucratic hurdles for law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment Rights, making it more difficult for grandpa to pass down his old shotgun, or for hunting pass to swap rifles.

The overwhelming majority of criminally acquired guns are obtained from illegal sources. Minnesota already has background checks in place and it’s unclear how going to the next level would do anything to reduce crime. California enacted a universal background check and a UC-Davis study revealed no changes in firearm homicide or suicide rates 10 years later.

This bill would not stop criminals, just make it harder for those of us who obey the law.

Red Flag Bill (HF9): It might be more appropriate to call this the “Guilty Until Proven Innocent Bill.”

Through this bill, Democrats are looking to “temporarily” seize guns from people who may or may not be a threat to themselves or others. This bill does away with our constitutional rights to due process and, once again, we already have laws in place to address situations supporters of this bill are taking on.

For example, people going through a mental crises can be placed on a 72-hour emergency hold for medical evaluation. That may result in further treatment. As for domestic violence, state law already directs officers to make an arrest if they believe that domestic violence has occurred in the preceding 72 hours, or if the person poses a threat to the alleged victim.

This bill throws that due process aside and allows guns to be seized based on claims from the reporting party. As I noted earlier, this essentially makes someone guilty until they prove themselves innocent. That is not how our justice system is designed and, once again, I can’t see how this bill saves lives because bad actors don’t ask permission to commit crimes.

On the other hand, this bill actually could put more lives in danger since law enforcement officers would be expected them to go knock on someone’s door and seize their guns. To make matters worse, this could be the first someone had heard that they have had a seizure levied against them.

I will continue to oppose these bills and any others that come forward to take away our Second Amendment rights. On that note, I attended a gun-owners rally at the Capitol over the weekend. It was a great event attended by good patriots. Regardless of where you stand on gun issues, it is important to refrain from messages or actions conveying violence or threats so we can keep the focus on the actual issues at hand.

Until next time, please let me know if you plan to come to the Capitol for Wednesday’s hearings. The best way to reach me during the session is through the email address seen in this letter.



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