GUN CONTROL: 3 new tools for Minnesota prosecutors - New York News

GUN CONTROL: 3 new tools for Minnesota prosecutors

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Two DFL lawmakers, along with Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, introduced legislation Thursday that would restrict gun possession for three new categories of violent felons in Minnesota.

Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) said the package of proposals, which were developed by Freeman and supported by the board of Urban Minnesota County Attorneys, will be effective in cutting gun violence.

The bill has three main goals for gun control in Minnesota:

1. Keep guns away from convicted felony domestic violence offenders by defining it as a crime of violence and increasing the penalty for possessing a firearm.

2. Prosecute juveniles as adults the second time the are caught with a gun.

3. Prevent felons who can't own guns from possessing ammunition.

Sen. Latz said the legislation would give prosecutors the tools they need to keep guns out of the hands people most likely to use them in a violent, criminal act.

"This package of practical laws will allow prosecutors throughout the state to get guns out of the hands of people who have shown they are dangerous and put them back in prison if they are found with a gun or ammunition," Freeman said.

Officials stress the bill would not change any existing laws for law-abiding citizens.

"This bill is a collaborative effort to keep guns away from convicted criminals, children, and those whom a court has ordered civilly committed," said Rep. Lesch. "It is a common-sense approach by law enforcement to keep our neighborhoods safe."

The bill would also make it a crime to knowingly give or help a felon obtain a gun.

If passed, the law would also stop anyone who is civilly committed from obtaining a gun while their case works through the court system.

The legislation is just one part of a larger discussion at the Capitol on gun control in Minnesota. A House committee will take up several bills next week, and the Senate plans to set aside two days later next month to consider the gun bills.

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