There has been some confusion about the “Domestic Violence Gun Confiscation” bill recently passed in the MN House of Representatives. I have been updated on exactly what the bill does and does not do by someone in the know and it is important that people understand what’s going on. In addition, Rep. Tony Cornish really is a friend to gun owners. He worked very hard to turn this bill (which originated from Felonious Mayors Against All Illegal Guns) from a complete and utter disaster into something which actually pretty well mirrors federal law . Interestingly enough . . .
Even though the Dems (Democrat-Farm-Labor or DFL in Minnesota) control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s mansion, the DFL leadership told Bloomie’s minions in no uncertain terms that legislators had to work with the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance so that GOCRA wouldn’t actively oppose the bill. This is what “grass roots” really means .
To start with, this bill doesn’t affect temporary restraining orders nor ex parte orders for protection. Here’s what already happens now, under current state and federal law:
1. A complainant (Carol) alleges domestic abuse by a boyfriend (Bob).
2. A judge grants Carol an ex parte (legalese for “one party”) order for protection. It basically says that Bob can’t abuse or have contact with Carol. It doesn’t include anything about guns.
3. Bob is served notice of this order.
4. Bob has an option to request a hearing to review the order. He brings his lawyer and Carol brings hers.
5. If a judge finds in that hearing with legal representation (i.e. due process), that Bob presents a significant threat of physical harm to Carol, the judge may make the order final for a period of time, commonly three years.
6. If that order includes findings of significant seriousness of a threat, the Wellstone Amendment  (federal law) prohibits Bob from possessing firearms.
7. Bob is responsible for getting any guns out of his possession as he has become a prohibited person for the duration of the order. Typically, he and his lawyer have planned for this eventuality and already had his guns removed. If not, there is an unwritten grace period of three days before anyone goes after Bob for possession.
If this bill becomes law, things are exactly the same, except for #7:
NEW #7. Within three days, Bob has to move his guns to a law enforcement agency, an FFL, or a third party (friend, relative, etc.). Within two days after that, the police, FFL or third party has to notify the court in writing that the move has been made.
- The notification is sealed by the court
- Bob retains full title to his property
- Bob can, if he chooses, direct the third party to sell the guns on his behalf
That’s it. And again we should be thanking Tony Cornish (sending him flowers would be nice) for his Herculean efforts in taking what originally was a horrific gun-grabber’s dream of a bill into something not so bad .
 This does NOT mean that I am suddenly in favor of these laws; I still stand with L. Neil Smith: “the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility,” and David Codrea: “If someone can’t be trusted with a firearm then they can’t be trusted without a custodian.”
 I’ve told the story before, but I love it so much I will tell it again: A court threw out the first version of MN’s “shall-issue” permit-to-carry law (based on a legislative rule technicality) a couple of days after the deadline for filing new bills had passed. Fortunately for the Lege it was more of a guideline than a deadline because MN gunnies lit up the Capitol switchboard. The representatives got so many calls that they and their staffers literally could not conduct their normal business until a new “shall-issue” bill was submitted.
 I was under the impression that it was the Lautenberg Amendment that barred those with an OFP, but Lautenberg’s was the one which barred DV misdemeanants from possession; the Wellstone Amendment (passed 3 years earlier in 1994) stated that subjects of an OFP are prohibited from firearm possession for duration of order.
 Again, see #1 above.