State Watch

Minnesota governor signs gun safety bills into law: ‘It’s about keeping our kids safe’

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz holds up a just-signed gun control bill Friday, May 19, 2023, at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn. Walz signed a sweeping public safety bill into law, including two gun measures: universal background checks and a red flag-style provision allowing law enforcement to intervene when someone is at high risk of injuring themselves or others with a firearm. (Aaron Tribune via AP)

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed two gun safety initiatives into law on Friday that will establish universal background checks and a process for temporarily removing firearms from those who imminently pose a threat to themselves or others. 

Walz signed the measures into law as part of a broader public safety budget bill after it narrowly passed by one vote along party lines in the state Senate last week.

The package includes a red flag law to allow authorities to ask courts to grant “extreme risk protection orders” for a person’s guns to be temporarily taken away if they could imminently harm themselves or other people. 

“As a veteran, gun-owner, hunter, and dad, I just signed a red flag law and universal background checks into law, Walz wrote Friday on Twitter. “Basic gun safety isn’t a threat to the Second Amendment – it’s about keeping our kids safe.”

“That’s exactly what we’re doing in Minnesota,” he added.

Walz also tweeted that “weapons of war” do not have a place in schools, churches, banks or “anywhere else people are just trying to live their lives.” 

The measures were not initially part of the public safety bill that the state Senate passed, but were included after a conference committee between the state House and Senate negotiated a final version — giving some political cover for Democrats who were hesitant by including them as part of a larger package on a range of safety topics. 

The governor said at a signing ceremony that the measures are “common-sense issues,” The Associated Press reported

Republicans in the state legislature have criticized the measures as violating the Second Amendment. 

With Walz’s signature, Minnesota joined 19 other states that have implemented red flag laws. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Biden signed into law last year, provided financial support for states to administer red flag laws. 

Sixteen states and Washington, D.C. have enacted laws requiring background checks for all gun sales, according to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Tags Gun control gun safety Minnesota red flag laws Tim Walz Tim Walz universal background check

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