Two Minnesota sheriffs spoke out against the DFL’s gun control agenda in letters this week, saying legislation being considered at the Capitol “completely oversteps the state’s authority.”
There are four gun control bills currently making their way through the committee process, but Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson and Itasca County Sheriff Joe Dasovich are most concerned with HF396, a safe storage mandate. The bill would require gun owners to store firearms unloaded with a locking device and apart from ammunition whenever they are not being carried.
Homeowners will be forced to have a permit to carry in their OWN home to have a loaded gun, even in a quick lock box, at the ready to defend themselves. Or they will be committing a crime.
I slept for 3 yrs with a loaded gun by my side because my neighbor threatened to kill me https://t.co/E8Xvu1h8qu
— Rep. Marion O'Neill (@MarionONeill1) February 4, 2023
According to a House research summary, an exception would be made for peace officers and permit-holders “who store a loaded, holstered handgun in a quick access safe.”
“If passed, this law would have little impact on the safety of individuals. It would have the opposite effect. Homeowners would not be able to defend themselves in a case of a home invasion, where seconds could make the difference between life and death,” Halverson said.
Thank you to Clearwater County Sheriff Darin Halverson for joining us in opposition to Walz’s gun control proposals.
“The knee jerk reaction is to make more gun laws… we don't need more gun laws… we need to look at the real root of the problem and that is mental illness.” pic.twitter.com/wsBp1VrQdW
— MN Gun Owners Caucus (@mnguncaucus) February 8, 2023
He highlighted the issues with enforcing the bill’s storage requirements.
“One would have to have a search warrant for every residence to ensure compliance with the law which would be a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” he wrote. “As sheriff, one of my responsibilities is to protect the citizens I serve against violations of their constitutional rights. This law would be a direct violation of those rights.”
Halverson and Dasovich said Minnesota already has laws on the books to keep firearms out of the hands of both children and criminals.
“Every time there is a mass shooting in America, the knee jerk reaction is to make more gun laws. The simple fact is, we don’t need more gun laws … In addition, we need to look at the real root of the problem and that is mental illness,” Halverson wrote.
Dasovich said he went from “seldomly dealing with people in mental health crises to now dealing with multiple incidents per day.”
“Addressing the true issue, mental health, would be a more successful method than attacking lawful firearm owners,” he said, calling the bill a “direct attack on responsible firearm owners and sportsmen alike.”
Thanks to the Itasca Sheriff Joe Dasovich for also joining us in opposition to HF 396, the safe storage mandate!
Have you called your sheriff yet? pic.twitter.com/WqrucIXrDW
— MN Gun Owners Caucus (@mnguncaucus) February 9, 2023
State Democrats have also proposed bills to require criminal background checks for all firearm transfers, establish a red-flag law, and require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within 48 hours.
Minnesota’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called the bills “well-intentioned policies that could be wielded by the state with discriminatory intent or impact.”