Minnesota became the hot seat of the gun control debate this week when President Obama made his first campaign stop in Minneapolis on Monday, February 4 to rally up support for his recent gun control legislation proposals. The White House reports the president chose the largely Democratic state as his first stop to push his anti-gun agenda because of Minneapolis’ success with programs curbing gun violence.
During the same week as the President’s visit, the Public Safety, Finance & Policy of Minnesota House of Representatives are holding a week-long set of hearings on House Bill 241 introduced on January 31, 2013. Essentially an assault weapons ban, the bill makes it a crime to make, transfer, or posses an assault weapon. H.F. 241 defines an assault weapon as a semi-automatic rifle that will accept any detachable magazine and one of the following traits:
- Pistol grip
- Thumbhole stock
- Any feature that acts as a protruding grip held with the non-trigger finger
- Folding or telescoping stock
- Guns with fixed magazines that hold more than seven rounds
- Conversion kit, part or a combination of parts to assemble an assault rifle
The bill also defines prohibited persons owning firearms, including ex-members of any armed forces with a dishonorable discharge. It also includes a grandfather clause for people who owned an “assault rifle” before February 1, 2013. According to the bill, those who have a grandfathered in rifle have until September 1, 2013 to either:
- Surrender the gun for destruction
- Make the gun inoperable
- Register the weapon, including a background check for possession of the gun
On Wednesday, February 6, 2013, Adam Ballard, the product manager at DPMS Panther Arms located in St. Cloud, Minnesota, testified in opposition to the bill. DPMS is an established black rifle company that has been supplying civilians, law enforcement and military with firearms and accessories since 1985. They are the second largest AR-15 manufacturer in the United States.
During Ballard’s testimony, he pointed out the economic contribution that DPMS makes to Minnesota, by employing 115 people with a $3.32 million payroll and millions of dollars in state and federal taxes. The economic impact of an assault weapons ban in Minnesota would not only affect the people who work at DPMS, but also Boberg Arms and Magnum Research. Ballard said Minnesota’s assault weapons ban would put DPMS out of business. On the company’s Facebook page: “This bill would close our doors, put a great number of hard-working Americans out of work and infringe upon the rights of millions of lawful gun owners in Minnesota.” The Senate plans to hold similar hearings on H.F. 241 later in February.
To tell your representatives to vote against an assault weapons ban in Minnesota, visit the NRA-ILA’s Action Center website.