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Senate passes gun restrictions for convicted abusers, stalkers

Posted by: under Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: May 5, 2014 - 6:20 PM

Minnesota is on the verge of prohibiting anyone convicted of domestic abuse or stalking from possessing firearms, putting the state at the forefront of a national push for more restrictive gun measures for abusers.

With an strong bipartisan vote, the Minnesota Senate voted 60-4 to prevent anyone convicted of child or domestic abuse from possessing rifles or handguns. Anyone subjected to an order for protection can lose possession of firearms, if ordered by a judge.

The measure is widely heralded as a significant step in preventing domestic violence and a significant step on a gun issue that have historically been enormously divisive around the Capitol.

“This is going to do a great job of protecting not only the women and the children in these families, but also future generations,” said Diane Sellgren, a survivor of domestic abuse involving firearms. “It is a very significant step. It is telling people it is not OK to threaten people with a gun.”

The measure has already passed the House and now goes to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton for a signature. Minnesota would join Wisconsin and Washington State to pass the measure this year.

“It’s very commendable that there is broad bipartisan support and that organizations in the past that might have opposed something like that are supportive,” said Dayton, a devoted gun owner. “It recognizes that people are at serious life risk in those situations.”

Legislators have been working for months to craft a measure that would both be effective and address powerful gun-rights group that have successfully killed several more restrictive measures in past years.

“Today’s passage in the Senate was a big step toward keeping Minnesota children and families safer,” said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park and chief sponsor of the measure. “Law enforcement, mayors, gun owners and legislators on both sides of the aisle came together to pass this bill, because we can all agree that it will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and save lives.”

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