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Walz signs public safety package with major gun control measures

Gun control legislation signed into law in Minnesota
Gun control legislation signed into law in Minnesota 02:02

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Gov. Tim Walz signed a public safety package on Friday, setting major gun control measures into law.

The bill passed through both the Minnesota Senate and House in the past week. 

The law is divided into two separate parts; it creates a "red flag" law, allowing family members, spouses, roommates, or law enforcement to ask a court to suspend someone's access to guns if a judge determines they're in significant danger of harming themselves or someone else.

The second part expands background checks to private gun transfers; it'll now apply to things like sales at gun shows, not just at federally licensed dealers.

"This is not about the second amendment," Walz said on Friday. "This is about the safety and security of our communities. That's what's happening here today."

Republicans accused the DFL of sneaking the gun control measures into the $850 million public safety bill. On the other hand, gun safety advocates say it's a culmination of a years-long effort.

"The impact of these laws will only be felt by peaceable gun owners, who are being imposed with unreasonable barriers to the free exercise of a Constitutionally protected right," added Rob Doar, Senior VP of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus. "Regulating peaceful conduct that is common among gun owners will do nothing to impact violent crime. Once again, it is law-abiding gun owners in the government's sights, not resources and strategies to address the mental health crisis or criminal misuse of guns."


Walz was joined by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Richfield's Police Chief Jay Henthorne, and former congresswoman and gun safety advocate Gabby Giffords, along with other advocates for bolstered gun laws.

"I'm relieved, this has felt like an urgent thing for a long time, so to have this culmination of the hard work that our volunteers and al lot of groups have done for the past decades come to fruition today is really exciting," said Molly Leutz of Moms Demand Action Minnesota.

Minnesota isn't alone in passing gun safety legislation. Just this spring, states like Washington in Colorado have done the same.

The universal background checks take effect on Aug. 1. Red flag laws take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. 

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