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Minnesota Gun Law Debate Reignited After Deadly Buffalo Clinic Shooting

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Gregory Ulrich, the man in custody in connection to Tuesday's deadly shooting at the Buffalo Alina Health clinic, had made threats of a mass shooting at that same location in 2018. He had also pleaded guilty to violating a restraining order in that case.

Rep. Ruth Richardson, D-Mendota Heights, tweeted a photograph of the scene in Buffalo, writing she had lobbied for a "Red Flag" law, and that she had implored her colleagues not to wait for another tragedy.

Rep. Dave Pinto, also a Ramsey County prosecutor, is the sponsor of a bill that would toughen gun background checks.

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"With the preliminary reporting, this seems to be a situation where somebody had a gun when they'd shown that they really are a danger to everybody else," Pinto said.

The pro-gun control group Minnesota Moms Demand Action said in a statement, "We need action from our leaders to prevent people with dangerous histories from having easy access to guns." WCCO spoke with Molly Luetz, the group's co-leader, on Wednesday.

Gregory Ulrich
Gregory Ulrich (credit: CBS)

"We don't know all the details here with this particular case, but we've, you know, collected enough data over time to know that we have an opportunity to stop things like this from happening," Luetz said.

But Rob Doar, political director of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, says not so fast. He says under existing state laws, Ulrich should not have had a gun

"He had been adjudicated unfit to stand for trial," Doar said. "Very curious to see what follow-ups were done with that."

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A legal source tells WCCO the Wright County Attorney's Office could have opened commitment proceedings against Ulrich after he was found incompetent for violating the restraining order against the clinic last year. WCCO reached out for a statement, but has not heard back.

The background bill, as well as a Red Flag law, will once again be introduced this legislative session. For two straight years, those bills have passed the DFL-controlled House, only to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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