St. Louis Park officials are developing policies to restrict the sale of firearms in the city and regulate how police get rid of outdated weapons.
The move is the result of discussions held this year between city officials and St. Louis Park students who pleaded for stricter gun control following a spate of school shootings across the nation.
“These are absolutely reasonable restrictions,” Mayor Jake Spano said. “How many children’s lives and people’s lives are we going to have to accept losing before we decide that there are some minimal things that we can do?”
The City Council asked staff to develop the policies at a recent study session and is expected to review them this year, according to City Manager Tom Harmening. They include:
• Prohibiting the rental of city facilities for gun shows.
• Disallowing licensed firearm dealers from selling inside their homes.
• Destroying police firearms no longer in use and firearms seized in criminal investigations, with some exceptions.
Licensed firearm dealers who already are allowed to sell in their homes could still do so, according to Harmening. Retiring officers who want to keep their service handgun could buy it through a dealer.
City facilities have never been used for gun shows, according to Harmening.
State law pre-empts cities, counties and towns from regulating “firearms, ammunition, or their respective components.” Home rule charter cities such as St. Louis Park can set zoning restrictions on where sales take place, according to a city report.
The discussion to regulate firearm sales was sparked by a national student walkout in March following a shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school that killed 17 people. Spano met with a group of St. Louis Park High School students who shared their concerns about school safety.
Spano then spoke with Kory Krause, owner of Frontiersman Sports, a local gun shop. Krause vowed to raise the sales age for assault rifles from 18 to 21 and stop selling “bump stock” attachments, he said. “The students’ concerns really resonated with him and he made it clear he wanted to be part of the solution,” Spano said.
The students met with Krause and with the City Council, leading city officials to review what power they had to regulate firearm sales.
Ruby Stillman, an incoming junior at St. Louis Park High involved in the discussions, said she felt empowered by the council’s decision to develop stricter policies.
“The fact that the city is taking our concerns seriously and really making an effort to look into every possibility for changing things makes me very proud,” Stillman, 15, said.
Isaac Wahl, another incoming junior who spoke with the council, said its actions could lead other cities to look at their own policies.
“I am extremely happy that the city of St. Louis Park is taking steps,” Wahl, 16, said. “Whether they’re huge steps or small steps, it makes a difference.”
The council is interested in meeting with the St. Louis Park school board this fall to speak about school safety, according to Harmening.