MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota can expect a renewed debate over gun control measures. Gov.-elect Tim Walz said Thursday common-sense gun control measures will be a priority for his administration.
This comes in the wake of another mass shooting Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. The gunman, Ian David Long, killed 12 people – including one law enforcement officer – before apparently taking his own life.
In the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February that left 17 dead, pro-gun control groups held rallies at the Minnesota State Capitol. The groups vowed to overthrow Republicans who were against gun control measures and in this election, they succeeded.
With the Minnesota House of Representatives flipping from Republican to DFL-controlled, Rep. Melissa Hortman is expected to become the next Minnesota House Speaker.
“We will be looking at common-sense solutions like criminal background checks on all gun sales and red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” Hortman said.
Gov.- elect Tim Walz – who once had an A rating from the NRA but who flipped on gun control measures after the Las Vegas massacre last year – says he is optimistic that gun control measures can pass.
“Now is the time for action,” Walz said. “We do know statistically when we have states that do universal background checks, we have a lower incidence.”
The pro-gun control group Moms Demand Action who worked tirelessly to elect pro-gun control state legislators is optimistic.
“I am absolutely hopeful,” Erin Zamoff, chapter leader. “We have a gun sense majority in the Minnesota House, we have a governor who is making this a priority.”
Earlier this year, while pro-gun control groups protested at the capitol, anti-gun control groups fought back with their own rallies. A leader of the pro-gun rights group Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus is concerned that new gun control measures could pass this session.
“I think there is a valid concern that gun owners and people who care about their right to keep and bear arms should definitely take notice,” said Rob Doar, political director for the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.
But the passage of any kind of gun control measures is far from a slam dunk. The Minnesota Senate will have a one-seat majority for Republicans, and the group Minnesota Gun Owners points out there are still Democrats in the Minnesota House who are opposed to gun control legislation.