By MIKE HANKS
Sun CURRENT NEWSPAPERS
Bills calling for changes in gun laws will be considered by the Minnesota Legislature this year.
Several proposals are already being discussed, ranging from changes in the background check process of gun purchases to restrictions on the types of guns and ammunition available.
The House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee was scheduled to hear testimony on gun-related bills for three days this week. The Senate is expected to hold hearings on gun proposals during the week of Feb. 18.
The Sun Current recently asked Richfield’s legislators: “What are your priorities regarding gun control proposals?”
Responses from two of Richfield’s four house and senate members are as follows:
Melissa Halvorson Wiklund, Senate District 50 (D-Bloomington): There has been much discussion regarding gun control over the past few months, and specific proposals are now coming forward both nationally and at the state level.
I agree with our president and U.S. senators that we can both respect responsible gun ownership and at the same time believe that work should be done to ensure we do more to prevent irresponsible use of guns.
My priorities would be to work with law enforcement officials who are dealing with gun violence on a daily basis to understand where changes can make a difference and also to address concerns from both law enforcement and human services agencies who see gaps in our ability to address mental health issues.
In both of the education committees I serve on, there will be discussion about how to address school climate and safety along with how to increase our ability to address mental health concerns. I look forward to hearing from Bloomington and Richfield constituents regarding their thoughts and suggestions.
Linda Slocum, House District 50A, (D-Richfield): Gun violence and gun control have become hot topics because of recent tragedies in places like Newtown, Aurora and even Richfield and Bloomington. When people cannot safely go to the movies, work or even attend elementary school, we know the status quo is not acceptable.
As a member of the House Public Safety Policy and Finance Committee I have been participating in three days of hearings (Feb. 5-7) exclusively devoted to finding common-sense ways we can reduce gun violence.
From those hearings, I hope we can produce bipartisan legislation to keep Minnesotans safe. I also am working with Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek to produce bipartisan solutions for addressing issues surrounding mental health and gun violence.
What we can do at a state level is limited. People and their cargo, guns included, cross state boundaries easily and without oversight. This means Minnesota’s gun laws are only as strong as its neighbors. Hopefully, members of Congress and President Obama will enact new measures that can make Minnesota and the rest of the United States more secure.
Jean Wagenius, Senate District 63 (D-Minneapolis); and Patricia Torres Ray, House District 63B (D-Minneapolis), did not respond.
To contact a legislator, visit bit.ly/Y5sILK.
Contact Mike Hanks at [email protected]