Today, Senator John Marty introduced legislation addressing gun violence through reasonable gun regulation.

Marty’s legislation, Senate File 3377 and 3378, would:

  • License gun owners, requiring background checks, significant training, and insurance.
  • Register firearms, and re-register them when they are transferred to a new owner.
  • Require additional training for people to carry guns
  • Tighten up restrictions on who can carry a gun in public and where they can carry it
  • Require permit holders to have training in strategies for deescalating potentially lethal encounters
  • Prohibit carrying of assault rifles in public places
  • Establish a crime of gun trafficking
  • Require safe storage of firearms
  • Require prompt reporting of lost or stolen firearms
  • Prohibit people under 21 from owning pistols, semi-automatic assault rifles, with additional restrictions for minors under 18.
  • Ban:
    • “ghost guns” (no serial numbers)
    • undetectable guns
    • large capacity ammunition magazines
    • high powered .50 caliber or larger firearms

“In the debate among legislators regarding violent crime, DFLers  call for more investment in policing, mental health treatment, and other public safety efforts, as well as major reforms to address the racism and inequity that is deeply rooted in our justice system.  While there are some minor, but important, gun regulations DFLers propose including a red flag law to remove guns from people who pose a threat along with legislation to close loopholes in the background check law, there is a great hesitation to talk about a responsible regulatory system for firearms,” Marty said. “In contrast, Republican legislators call for more investment in policing and prisons, and blame DFLers for causing crime. Republican legislators virtually unanimously oppose new firearms regulation.”

“Gun regulation has been the third rail of American politics. But the increase in murders, accidental shootings, suicides, armed carjackings and robberies, as well as the ongoing tragedy of mass shootings, shows how urgent the need for change is. A responsible gun safety regulatory system would reduce crime and save lives,” Senator Marty said.

In an analogy Senator Marty made, he compared the way Minnesota regulates automobiles to how we should view gun regulation pointing out that there are lawful uses for both guns and cars, but both are deadly when misused:

“With cars, we require the operator to be trained and licensed. We register the vehicle, and re-register it when transferring to a new owner. We require liability insurance. We also require safety modifications and regulate how and where they are driven.

“For guns, there is no licensing, no training requirement, no registration, no insurance, no safety equipment required. This enables criminals to obtain guns with no background check, no waiting period – no means of enforcement at all.”

Senator Marty’s violence prevention legislation was carefully constructed to protect constitutional rights as well as the interests of the millions of Minnesotans who have guns for hunting, for personal protection, or for shooting sports.

Automobile regulations are aimed at protecting public safety, and they necessarily apply to all people, not just those who intend to harm others. This legislation takes the same approach for firearms.

Senator Marty pointed out that the U.S. Constitution explicitly says “well-regulated” when referring to gun rights, yet the gun lobby opposes any form of gun regulation. The courts have said that reasonable restrictions may be placed on the possession of firearms. The National Firearms Act of 1934 effectively banned machine guns from most private ownership. Since that time, the “Tommy Guns” of the Al Capone era and other fully automatic machine guns have not been used in mass killings or other crimes.”

Over the decades, automobile regulation has reduced the traffic death toll by 90% per mile driven. States with stronger gun laws average far less than half the gun violence deaths per capita than states with the weakest laws. Like automobile regulation, gun regulation saves lives.

“Despite their political rhetoric, Politicians are not ‘tough on crime if they oppose any regulation of people trying to get a gun for carjacking, armed robbery, or murder until after they have committed their violent acts,” Marty said. “Intervening after a crime does nothing to protect victims or prevent crime.”

“These modest proposals do not punish responsible gun owners any more than vehicle registration punishes responsible car owners. But these proposals will help stop the arms race on our streets and prevent the countless situations where anyone with a temper or a minor grudge can end up murdering someone in a road rage incident.”

Graphic comparing automobile and car regulations:

Summary of SF 3377 and 3378: