Minnesota Passes Legislation To Keep Guns From Domestic Abusers

By Newsroom America Staff at 6 May 2014

(Newsroom America) -- Minnesota has joined Washington State and Wisconsin in passing legislation this year to protect women and children by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, defeating decade-long resistance from the National Rifle Association.

In the weeks leading up to yesterday's passage, Everytown for Gun Safety mobilized Minnesotans including domestic violence survivors and advocates, the local Moms Demand Action chapter, law enforcement and concerned citizens to meet with legislators, testify at Senate and House committee hearings, make hundreds of calls and send thousands of emails to legislators in support of the bill.

Research shows that the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed.

The trifecta of new laws in these states – as well as a new law in New Hampshire to create a crime of domestic violence – will help protect women and families by keeping guns out of dangerous hands, say advocates of the law.

"Passing legislation to keep guns away from domestic abusers in Washington, Wisconsin, and now Minnesota is a victory for the safety of women and children, and an important sign that support for sensible gun laws is building," said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and chairman of Everytown for Gun Safety and co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

"After years of resistance from the gun lobby, these victories show that – by localizing local supporters – progress on common-sense gun policies is achievable."

The news in Minnesota comes on the heels of the recent announcement of Everytown for Gun Safety and the launch of the Gun Sense Voter campaign to mobilize one million gun safety voters in November and beyond. Just last week, Everytown helped defeat two dangerous gun bills in Arizona that were vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer.

"The recent victories in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington State – and Governor Brewer's recent veto of two dangerous bills – show how Americans across the country are coming together to fix our country's broken gun laws and it's just the beginning," said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety.

"As we've said before – we're not waiting for Washington any longer; Americans are coming together in their city halls and state houses to fight for common-sense reforms that respect the Second Amendment and protect people."

SF 2639, which was introduced by Senator Ron Latz, passed the Minnesota Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and now goes to Governor Mark Dayton's desk to be signed into law.

Current Minnesota law prohibits abusers convicted of domestic assault from possessing handguns but is silent regarding their ability to possess assault weapons and other rifles and shotguns. The bill will close this loophole, a critical step since nearly one in five domestic homicide victims are murdered with a shotgun or rifle.

It will also protect victims of domestic violence and stalking by creating a process to ensure that prohibited abusers and stalkers relinquish their guns and store them with dealers, law enforcement, or other trusted third parties.

In Minnesota, the number of domestic violence murders rose dramatically in 2013, more than doubling 2012 numbers. New polling by Everytown for Gun Safety shows that nearly 80 percent of Minnesotans support the provisions in the legislation.

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