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Dayton speaks with vice president on guns, will watch for proposals

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans, President Obama Updated: January 10, 2013 - 4:22 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton, who joined a conference call about guns with Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday, is now looking at possibly changing Minnesota's gun laws.

"We're certainly looking with interest at what the vice president is going to propose... and at that point we look forward to working with legislators of both parties to see what changes we might want to propose," Dayton spokesman Katharine Tinucci said on Thursday.

Gun sales went up after the Newtown school shooting

Gun sales went up after the Newtown school shooting

 

Last month, after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut,  Dayton defended gun-owners rights when asked about possible changes to Minnesota gun laws. 

“At this point, I don’t think we have an option under the Second Amendment to do what some people are advocating,” Dayton, a gun owner, had said. “There’s a limit on what society can do to protect people from their own follies.”

Dayton, who has been out of the Capitol for weeks recovering from back surgery, had said at the time that he would consider what legislation Minnesota lawmakers wished to propose.

It's unclear whether any new gun legislation will reach Dayton's desk. 

“Guns are one of those very, very divisive issues,” said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. “I think any kind of additional gun legislation in Minnesota is really difficult to get passed."

“People feel very passionate on both sides of this. But this is a state with a strong sporting tradition and a lot of gun owners. And they feel very passionately about it. …. It would be very, very hard to change the current law,” said Bakk, who said last month that he was one of the biggest lovers of guns in the Capitol.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he does see some room to talk about gun-control this legislative session.

“I think there is going to be a discussion about how we keep public places, schools in particular, safer,” Thissen said. “There are some things we can look at to make sure we are looking at making sure our public places are as safe as possible.”

 Two days into the 2013 Minnesota legislative session, no member had yet to introduce a measure to change the state's gun laws.

On Wednesday, Minnesota anti-violence activist Heather Martens met with Biden and left the meeting encouraged.

Republican Rep. Tony Cornish, of Vernon Center, said of Marten's efforts: "What is she going to do now? Come after shotguns? A shotgun was used in the school shooting today and it was another "gun free zone" which I consider a "kill zone." They also had no armed guards. It's time for these anti gunners to wake up smell the roses and realize that you are not going to stop evil people (with) gun laws. You stop them (with) a bullet."

Cornish earlier proposed arming teachers to allow them to stop school shootings.

Dayton has frowned upon that proposal.

Baird Helgeson contributed to this blog post.

 

 

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