Sheriffs take aim at DFL assault on guns and ammo in homes

There’s an all-out assault on the 43 percent of Minnesota households that keep at least one firearm at home. The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus ticked off a list of gun control measures hidden in a budget bill at the Minnesota Legislature.

-Require background checks on all gun transfers, even gifts

– It will register every gun owner in Minnesota

– Ban magazines holding more than 10 rounds

– Allow secret court orders to come and take your guns

– And eliminate the ability for young adults to exercise their right to keep and bear arms

“The DFL is trying to use their trifecta to infringe on the rights of law-abiding Minnesotans under the guise of improving public safety. Numerous legislators, including many in the Senate DFL caucus and nearly every county sheriff in Minnesota, have expressed concerns about these gun control proposals. They’re speaking out because these bills are unconstitutional and ineffective,” said Bryan Strawser, Chairman, Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus.

The barrage of bills includes a measure working its way through the legislature giving the government control over firearms and ammunition on owners’ private property, their homes.

-Establishes minimum requirements for the safe storage of a firearm—a firearm must be stored unloaded with a locking device and separate from the firearm’s ammunition.

-Requires that a locking device be included with a transferred firearm unless the transferee provides proof of ownership of a locking device

-Penalties for violations…range from a misdemeanor to a five-year felony based on the level of risk and harm caused by the violation.

Most sheriffs statewide strongly oppose the DFL effort to put authorities inside residents’ homes. The top law enforcement officer in Freeborn County didn’t mince words in the Albert Lea Tribune.

New proposed legislation is receiving pushback from a number of law enforcement, including Ryan Shea, sheriff for Freeborn County. According to Shea, the bill — House File 396/Senate File 916 — is meant to require gun owners to store and lock firearms separately from ammunition, which is required to be locked up inside a home.

A violation of the law precludes a person from acquiring a permit to carry. The bill, if passed, would hold gun owners responsible for locking up their firearms.  “One of the big things is that it’s inside somebody’s home,” he said. “We shouldn’t be regulating stuff like that inside somebody’s home.”  

Besides doubting the measure’s constitutionality, Sheriff Shea provides some very practical reasons why it’s a dangerous development. Essentially, he views it as pro-criminal and a threat to law-abiding citizens.

“We have 720 square miles here in Freeborn County, and there’s no possible way to staff enough people to make sure that every homeowner is always safe,” he said. “People have to take it upon their own responsibility for self-defense at some point.” 

And not allowing people to store loaded firearms inside their homes for that defense was something he felt was unconstitutional.   His solution to the proposed bills: throw them away.  He also said there were cases within the county of people in Freeborn County being assaulted and that could have done something.

“This isn’t a gun issue when it comes to assaulting people,” he said. “It’s a human issue. You’re not going to stop people from hurting other people, and if people don’t have a way of defending themselves from those attacks then we’re left with the criminals running rampant.” 

Shea adds that more than 70 sheriffs out of Minnesota’s 87 counties oppose DFL lawmakers’ determination to effectively handcuff gunowners’ from legally having their weapons at the ready if ever needed. It’s a reminder that guns don’t kill your Second Amendment rights, politicians do.