Bill would take firearms away from abusers

State Rep. Dan Schoen
District 54A

On April 30, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed legislation that allows authorities to remove firearms from anyone who is subject to a civil order for protection or is prohibited from possessing firearms due to a criminal conviction related to domestic abuse.

I am proud to say the bill, which I authored, received bipartisan support and passed 111-15.

We worked very hard with both sides to get a final product that has not caused great strife, With the help of lawmakers like Rep. Tony Cornish [a Republican from Good Thunder, Minn.], we produced a bill that will both offer important additional protection to the victims of domestic abuse while still protecting the rights protected by the Second Amendment.

The bill contains the following provisions:

• Those subject to an order for protection in a domestic child abuse and domestic abuse investigation are prohibited from possessing a firearm for the length of that order, which mirrors federal law. The order must restrain the accused from harassing, stalking or threatening the accuser or restrain the accused from engaging in other conduct that would place the accuser in reasonable fear of bodily injury and include a finding that the accused poses a credible threat to the physical safety of the person seeking protection.

•  Individuals convicted of domestic abuse, stalking, assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree, assault in the fifth degree, or assault by strangulation against a family or household member must surrender their firearms.

• The firearms must be transferred within three business days to a federally licensed firearms dealer, a law enforcement agency or a third party who may lawfully receive them (and does not reside with the abusing party).

This bill does not target the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. Statistics shows that a firearm present during a domestic dispute makes that situation six times more likely to result in a homicide.

And as a police officer myself, for the city of Cottage Grove, I or any other law-enforcement officer can tell you domestic calls are among the most dangerous we take.

One study showed that 14 percent of all police officers who were killed in the line of duty were responding to a domestic incident. When the perpetrator is armed, not only is the life of the victim at risk, so is the responding police officer’s.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) is the sponsor.

 

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