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Update: Firearms Safety Teacher 'Livid' about Minn. Gun Bills

Posted at: 01/31/2013 6:40 PM
Updated at: 02/01/2013 11:04 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

More than a half-dozen new bills on gun control in Minnesota were introduced in the House of Representatives Thursday, and a Duluth DFL'er is listed as an author on six of those pieces of legislation.

Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, is listed as an author on legislation to outlaw large-capacity magazines, and five others. In the proposal, a large-capacity magazine is defined as "any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than seven rounds."

Should the bill pass, any person that has one must remove it from the state or surrender it to law enforcement for destruction within 120 days.

During a gun safety class Friday, we met Saginaw Firearms Inc. owner Frank LeFevre. Should the bill pass, he said "what's going to happen is you're going to have all these people in this state that are going to be deprived from having a firearm to defend themselves."

LeFevre said the bill is part of an agenda to ban firearms. He said the background check system is broken. Instead of bans, he suggests that system be fixed. "If they were to do that and that didn't work then let's take it to the next level," he said.

Rep. Sheldon Johnson, DFL-St. Paul, is a co-author. He told Eyewitness News the bill limiting magazine size will start the conversation about gun violence. "We need to hear testimony from both sides and see what we can do. I think we all want a safer community."

Under the bill, it would be illegal to manufacture, import, transfer or possess what is defined in the bill as a large-capacity magazine. The bill says anyone who violates those rules "is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 5 years or to payment of a fine not more than $25,000, or both."

Other authors on the bill are DFL Representatives Alice Hausman, Michael Paymar, of St. Paul.

The gun control bills have been referred to the Committee on Public Safety, Finance and Policy. That committee will be hearing public testimony on gun control next week.