In his State of the Union address, President Obama made a head fake at reducing the size of the federal government. And then assured his audience that the feds would continue to interfere in American life where it made “common sense.” Hearing gun advocates’ favorite Orwellian euphemism, I walked to my computer to blog the Prez’s call for gun control. Which never came. Instead, Obama focused on food safety, child labor laws, high speed-rail, wind farms, education and kicking our allies collective ass. Despite his call for a five-year “spending freeze,” it’s clear the Prez and his pals don’t “get it.” Americans want less government. If Obama had called for the abolition of the Departments of Justice, Education and the ATF, well then. But he didn’t. Nor have the Republicans. But there is hope somewhere. Specifically, Minnesota . . .
Citing a push to reduce Minnesota government mandates, Republicans voted Wednesday to dump a state background check for gun purchases, saying it needlessly duplicates an existing federal system.
The surprise move, pushed in a House committee by Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, was roundly criticized by Democratic-Farmer-Labor colleagues and police groups, who suggested it would weaken protections for the public.
“We strongly feel that these local checks are not redundant,” said Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.
Yes, well, they would say that. The police checks give the police the final say over who does and does not get a permit to own a firearm. Other than that . . .
The bill would repeal a state requirement that anyone buying a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed firearms dealer must first get a permit. Potential buyers now can get from police a one-year permit, without charge, after a seven-day waiting period during which background checks are made.
Hide your permits! The assault rifles are coming! The assault rifles are coming! And the Republican’s counter?
Minnesota is one of 12 states that require a permit to buy a handgun. Thirty-eight others, including Wisconsin and North and South Dakota, do not.
“The bill, again, simply removes an unnecessary, redundant and expensive unfunded local government mandate,” Drazkowski said.
And the counter counter?
Bloomington police Sgt. Mark Elliott, who heads that department’s background-checks unit, told the committee the state system is slightly more restrictive than the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in two areas: He said the state check, unlike the federal, would catch people charged with gross misdemeanors, such as stalking and crimes committed for a gang, as well as those charged with violent crimes and placed in pretrial diversion programs.
He said 541 people applied to buy guns last year in Bloomington and that 37 were denied. With just the federal check, all 37 would have been able to get guns, Elliott said.
Even if we take that “protection” at face value, it’s important to note that the Sgt. is talking about people charged with gross misdemeanors—not convicted. Under Minnesota law, if a citizen is convicted of a gross misdemeanor, they lose their gun rights. What of woman (or men) threatened by an aforementioned stalker? As mincava.umn.edu reminds us, the feds have that one covered:
Possession of Firearm While Subject to Order of Protection, 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(8)
It is illegal for a person to possess a firearm while subject to a court order restraining such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner. The protection order must have been issued following an evidentiary hearing in which the defendant had notice and an opportunity to appear. The protection order must also include a specific finding that the defendant represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the victim, or must include an explicit prohibition against the use of force that would reasonably be expected to cause injury.
Do gang bangers get due process too? Cost of freedom gentlemen. So step aside guys and mark my words: we’re going to see—are seeing—more of this grass roots movement against local laws restricting gun rights. And it’s not just about the Second Amendment. It’s part of an effort to reign in government generally. Eventually. Maybe.