MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s top Republican at the State Capitol Thursday declared gun safety bills dead for the year. That’s after Democrats used a parliamentary maneuver to force a vote on gun control.
House Democrats made gun safety a top-ten priority this year, but it stalled for lack of support in the Republican Senate. Now, they are trying to force the vote with a high-stakes gamble.
After weeks of protest, House Democrats are wrapping the contentious gun bills into a much larger, key public safety measure to guarantee that it gets a vote.
“Minnesotans have demanded that this legislature take action to prevent gun violence,” said Rep. Melissa Hortman – (D) House Speaker.
The gun measures include stricter criminal background checks. And extreme risk protection orders allowing police to confiscate guns from dangerous people. Both bills would likely fail in the Senate, where Republicans want a single up-or-down vote.
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“Which means they’re basically dead. Those gun control bills are dead,” said Sen. Paul Gazelka – (R) Majority Leader.
The public safety bill includes millions of dollars for disaster assistance, state corrections — including prisons and prison guard safety — Amber Alerts and DWI enforcement. And now, also gun control.
“The budgets at the end are already difficult, so to put those in a budget bill that must be passed makes it very, very problematic,” Gazelka said.
The powerful Democratic House Speaker says she will try to force a Senate vote because she says nine out of 10 Minnesotans want it.
“They have no excuse for their failure to listen to Minnesotans, and hold a hearing and have a vote. We’re taking action,” Hortman said.
There is no timeline on when the biggest budget bills of the year will get a vote, which usually at the very end of the year.
With the gun control bills now tucked inside the public safety measure, pressure will only mount until then.