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Minnesota Senate Approves One Gun Control Bill, But Key Senator Balks at More

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When we spoke to Rob Doar of the MN Gun Owners Caucus on Cam & Co yesterday, he sounded pretty confident that bills mandating gun storage standards and requiring the reporting of lost and stolen firearms could be defeated in the state Senate, despite the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party’s one-vote majority. But while DFL leadership bent over backward to ensure that embattled state Sen. Nicole Mitchell is still eligible to vote on legislation despite her arrest on felony burglary charges, Mitchell won’t be the deciding vote on gun control bills after all. 

Instead, DFL Sen. Grant Hauschild will be playing that role. On Thursday he came out opposed to both bills, essentially killing off any chance of their passage. 

DFL State Senator Grant Hauschild (DFL-Hermantown) announced Thursday in a post on X that he will not be voting for a “mandatory safe storage” bill this year. Hauschild is part of a one-vote DFL majority, and his vote is likely the tie-breaker for the legislation. 

After the senate adjourned for the day, Hauschild further elaborated on his stance.

“The safe storage bill isn’t something that I think makes sense for northern Minnesota. A lot of folks have guns that they have on their porches or in their homes,” said the Senator. 

Asked about a bill to require mandatory reporting of lost and stolen firearms, the Senator had a similar answer.

“It’s not a provision that I’m supporting, no,” he said.

While the two bills have passed through the Minnesota House, it now appears unlikely they’ll do the same in the senate. Majority Leader Erin Murphy indicated that given the news on Hauschild’s stance, the bills likely won’t receive a floor vote.

“Senator Hauschild has made it clear that he doesn’t support that piece of legislation, so we won’t be taking that up this session,” she said.

Hauschild (and Mitchell) did vote for a ban on binary triggers that cleared the Senate on party lines. Three Republicans, along with every DFL member, previously voted in favor of the ban when the bill was in the House, and Gov. Tim Walz is almost certain to sign the bill when it reaches his desk. But that’s likely to be the only gun control measure adopted by the legislature this year, which is pretty amazing considering the wave of anti-gun legislation that was introduced this session. 

Anti-gunners tried to get everything from an “assault weapons” ban to gun licensing enshrined into law, but 2A advocates were able to defeat the vast majority of the bills in committee, despite the DFL majority in both chambers. Second Amendment advocates in the state deserve a lot of credit for their engagement throughout the session, starting with the work done by the MN Gun Owners Caucus and its members, who’ve been a constant presence at the capitol over the past couple of months. 

Of course, we know that the gun control lobby will be back next session. Now that the remaining gun control bills have been pulled from consideration, 2A advocates can turn to this fall’s elections. Every seat in the state House will be on the ballot in November, and the DFL currently has a six-seat majority. Replacing a half-dozen anti-gun lawmakers with pro-2A legislators would neutralize the threat of gun control for at least the next two years. Though that might be a tall order, Minnesota gun owners have already proven themselves capable of delivering semi-miraculous results, and I’m optimistic that they can claw back some of the seats currently held by legislators who’ll rubber stamp every gun control bill that comes before them.

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