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Minn. Senate Wraps Up First Set of Gun Control Hearings

Posted at: 02/22/2013 5:29 PM
Updated at: 02/22/2013 5:38 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

The first gun control hearings in the Minnesota Senate wrapped up Friday afternoon, following moving testimony from citizens that say they've been personally impacted by gun violence.

The committee took up several gun control bills, including one proposing to make it a gross misdemeanor to falsely report a lost or stolen gun.

"This is about lives," Mary Johnson said, with organization From Death to Life. "It's about our children!"

Johnson, from Minneapolis, said "guns are readily available in our neighborhood."

Also speaking to the committee of Senator's Friday afternoon, Rabbi Michael Adam Latz, of the Shir Tikwah Congregation. "I am here in my most important role in the world - as a father of young children."

The bill would make it a gross misdemeanor to falsely report your gun lost or stolen to police. Do it again, and under the bill, it is a felony.

Remarking on how gun control bills could help cut down on gun violence, Johnson said "I'm not going to say the bill is going to take care of everything, but it is a good beginning."

Unlike nearly every other bill introduced in the on gun control, which is more than two dozen, the push back to this piece of legislation was minimal. The only debate was over the punishment.

Joseph Olson, with the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, said "we do have objections to the lifetime ban that is being proposed."

What Johnson was referring to, is the lifetime ban on gun ownership for anyone found guilty of falsely reporting a gun lost or stolen to police. Instead he proposed a three year ban for the first offense. "At the end of three years it goes away."

The bill is authored by Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, who happens to be related to the Rabbi who testified.

Sen. Latz said the bill could become part of a larger piece of gun control legislation later. However one Republican questioned that plan, and asked each gun control bill see a separate vote.