Handgun permit bill gets hearing
ST. PAUL -- A tearful Allen Storry recalled his sister dying in front of an Arizona college class four months ago. The young man who shot her to death was angry because he was failing a nursing class Storry's sister taught. If one of the stud...
ST. PAUL -- A tearful Allen Storry recalled his sister dying in front of an Arizona college class four months ago.
The young man who shot her to death was angry because he was failing a nursing class Storry's sister taught. If one of the students had pulled a gun, the shooter may have fought back with one of the five guns he carried, Storry said.
"It could have been a blood bath," Storry said. "Instead of three people dying, it could have been many more."
Storry told Minnesota senators they should reject a bill designed to allow more Minnesotans to carry handguns.
"You can't possibly think that putting more guns out in society will make it safer," the Maple Grove, Minn., resident said.
However, supporters say the bill would make Minnesota safer.
"It is intended to help those who are in the most vulnerable groups of our citizens to have protection from criminals," Sen. Pat Pariseau, R-Farmington, said.
Pariseau, whose Senate File 222 is nearly identical to a bill easily moving through the House, said she does not expect the Senate Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee to pass her bill when it next meets. But after nearly seven years of trying to pass the bill, Pariseau said, this is as good a chance as she has seen for it.
Metropolitan DFL senators are killing chances for her gun bill, Pariseau said.
"The rural people are being left high and dry," she said.
Most supporters of the bill are from rural areas.
The bill requires:
- Sheriffs to issue handgun permits to most Minnesotans. Current law leaves permit decisions up to sheriffs and police chiefs.
- People to be American citizens before obtaining permits. Current law has no citizenship requirement.
- Permits be issued only to people at least 21 years of age. Current law allows Minnesotans who are 18 to carry guns.
"Senator Pariseau has ownership on a very extreme gun bill," Senate Majority Leader John Hottinger, DFL-St. Peter said.
Joe Desua of suburban Apple Valley supports the bill. The Apple Valley police chief has denied him a gun permit, even though he holds a valid Florida permit.
"I must first become a victim to be considered for a permit," he said. "I would prefer not to be a victim of anything."
Desua said current law gives the rich and famous and politically connected people a better chance to get a permit. He called the law "uncontrolled abuse of the rights of citizens."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Don Davis at (651) 290-0707