State lawmakers take up gun violence prevention bills

Minnesota lawmakers introduced new legislation they say would prevent gun violence in the state on Wednesday.

The bill comes as the city of Burnsville is still processing the shooting deaths of officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, as well as firefighter paramedic Adam Finseth.

Groups Protect Minnesota and Everytown say progress was made to fight gun violence last session but say there’s still a lot of work to be done, saying they have seven main points they want lawmakers to focus on this session.

Out of those issues, advocates are hoping to tackle dealing with lost and stolen firearms, as they say every year, hundreds of thousands of guns are lost or stolen in the United States, which can end up in an underground market – and many are later used to commit violent crimes.

One proposed bill this session would require gun owners to safely store and lock up both their firearms and ammunition, and if they don’t, they could find themselves with criminal charges and a loss of their gun rights.

Along those same lines, another proposed bill would require a lost or stolen gun be reported right away to law enforcement.

Advocates for these bills saying almost 600 Minnesotans died from gun violence in 2022.

“I will not accept the argument that these deaths and the trauma associated with them are simply the cost of doing business for the freedom to own a gun,” said Pastor Rolf Olson, who lost his daughter to gun violence.

WDIO has reached out to the Minnesota chapter of the NRA for their perspective on the proposed legislation, but has not received a statement back as of 2:00 p.m. on February 21.