Obama to land in state not in lock-step with gun planPresident Barack Obama will tell select Minnesotans on Monday about his plan to reduce gun violence by increasing gun-buyer background checks, outlawing assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips and strengthening programs to prevent the mentally ill from become mass shooters.
By: Don Davis and Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
ST. PAUL — President Barack Obama will tell select Minnesotans on Monday about his plan to reduce gun violence by increasing gun-buyer background checks, outlawing assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips and strengthening programs to prevent the mentally ill from become mass shooters.
But he is not coming to a state that will offer its full support to such actions.
While there appears to be broad agreement that keeping guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous people is a good idea, many Minnesotans — especially in rural areas — fear Obama’s ideas overall will hamper gun ownership.
“The only thing that worries me about the president coming here is that a week after he leaves there won’t be any guns left on the shelves,” Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, said, indicating that Obama’s appearance will convince gun supporters that they need to buy guns while they still can.
“This guy is the chief gun salesman in the United States right now,” Cornish added.
Cornish and other outspoken gun-control opponents probably will not receive invitations to Obama’s closed-door Minneapolis meetings Monday.
The president plans to be in Minnesota less than three hours, meeting with political and law enforcement leaders.
A White House spokesman said he did not know why Minnesota was picked for Obama’s first stop outside Washington to promote the gun violence plan. He will not appear in public, but the media will be allowed to cover some presidential remarks.
State lawmakers ready for rapid-fire debate
Minnesota lawmakers are pulling the trigger on gun-related legislation.
Hours of House committee gun-related hearings are scheduled Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with senators planning similar meetings later in the month.
Bills still are being introduced, and probably will be for the next several weeks, so a full picture of what state legislators will debate is not clear as President Barack Obama plans a visit to Minneapolis on Monday to promote his anti-gun violence proposals.
Rep. Tim Faust, DFL-Hinckley, said he has received more emails from constituents about gun control than any other topic. He said he sees some agreement from the two extremes on the issue, such as bolstering programs for the mentally ill.
“There is more consensus on this issue than people give it credit,” Faust said. “Even the pro-gun people are in favor of those changes.”
Faust said he has received complaints from people attending a Hinckley gun show that people in one booth would do a background check on a potential buyer, while those in the next booth would sell guns with no background check.
That is one of the issues Minnesota and federal lawmakers will discuss: whether to require background checks before any gun sale, even private sales and maybe even gifts to family members.
Although lawmakers have talked about many bills that have yet to be written, more than a dozen have been introduced.