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Minnesota’s Concealed weapons law is overturned

Yesterday, 13 July 2004, Judge John Finley, overturned Minnesota’s highly liberalized conceal and carry gun law. 
In 2003, the Minnesota legislate attached a bill liberalizing Minnesota’s Concealed Weapons law to an unrelated bill and sent it up for signing to the office of Minnesota Govenor Tim Pawlenty.  It is against the Minnesota constitution to do such a thing – we have a one subject law.  One bill, one subject.  In this case, the new gun permit law was attached to an unrelated Department of Natural Resources bill.  

The new law put tighter restrictions on what local Sheriff’s office could take into consideration before granting a concealed and carry gun permit. 

The new criteria for granting a concealed and carry permit under the new law, was limited to only two criterions: If the person had a felony record, or was/is confined to a state hospital for mental illness.  

Prior to the new law, a person had to prove a need for a concealed and carry permit.  Under the new law, a person does not even need a reason. 

Prior to the new law, a Sheriff could do additional screening of a permit applicant to determine suitability.  Such things as is the applicant under psychiatric care and are they taking psychotropic medications. The new law prohibits the Sheriff from doing that – my own aunt claims secret government agents are sneaking into her house and writing covert messages to each other on her toilet paper.  She now legally carries a .357 Magnum.  Under the old law, she wouldn’t even be permitted to purchase a firearm. 

John Gordon, a lawyer for Minneapolis-based Faegre & Benson complained about the Judge’s decision.  He said: "If you want to pass a gun law, follow the rules and don't jam it down people's throats".  But, that is exactly how the new law got passed – the new law was illegally attached to an unrelated bill and sent it to Minnesota’s Governor Tim Pawlenty for signature.  The new law was pushed down the throats of those who did not want this new law passed. 

Minnesota House Speaker Steve Sviggum said: "Obviously, I am disappointed, by the court decision” and added “that critics of the [new] bill had been proven wrong”.  However, America was told, by a now discredited writer, John Lott, that 98% of all crime would circumvented if the citizens carried firearms.  A new study done proved that the crime rate did not drop as promised after citizens were permitted to carry firearms. 

Another focus of the Judge’s decision was the violation of the civil rights of those who did not want unrestricted guns in the hands of society and do not want to carry firearms, or have firearms around them.  30 religious institutions initiated the court action.  Carrying firearms into a church or synagogue violates the very principles of religion and threatened freedom of religion. 

Prior to the new law, it was a felony to carry a weapon unto private property against the property owners wishes.  The new law declared that bringing a weapon unto private property was only a petty misdemeanor.  If a gun person brings a firearm into a building that is posted “NO GUNS”, the property owner has no civil or criminal recourse.   

In Winsted, Minnesota, a local man brought his gun into his Doctor’s office.  The office was clearly posted “No Guns”.  When the office staff asked him to remove his gun, this man engaged in a loud verbal confrontation with the staff.  He scared the other patients in the office.  This man is on psychotropic drugs.   The Doctor’s office staff had no recourse.  I can’t mention any names because he told me about this in confidence as I am a Rabbi.  The example, though, proves that this man should not be entrusted with a gun, and clearly displays the average ‘gun nut’ attitude towards their fellow human beings.  

Prior to the new law, it was a felony to carry a weapon onto school grounds.  The new law reduced that to only a petty misdemeanor.   

How then can State Senator Lynda Boudreau, claim the new law standard’s actually made things tougher?  Senator Boudreau was the one who illegally attached the gun permit bill to an unrelated bill and sent it to the governor for signing.  

Boudreau was called upon to testify before her peers to explain her actions.  She refuses the summons.  Now, the lawmakers are violating the very laws they enacted, and they do so with immunity and impunity. 

A comprehensive study was done in 2003.  In 2002, there were 943 shootings under the guise of self protection.  Only two, and I repeat only two, were deemed justifiable homicide.  What this means is that 941 of those shootings were either deliberate manslaughter or murder. 

Gun control is a very hot issue in America.  There are those who declare all gun laws unconstitutional.   

However, in my own experience, when I was 15, a man came up to me, pointed a gun at my head and he took me to his car.  He sodomized me while holding a gun to my head.  Had there been effective gun control, the authorities would have found out that this man was wanted in another state for similar crimes and he was a declared Level III sexual predator.   

If this man did not have a gun, I could have effected actions to get away. One ‘gun nut’ told me that if I had had a gun, it never would have happened.  The ‘gun nut’ is not taking into consideration if I had a gun and I shot the man, I would probably just be getting out of prison at about this time.  I would have had a felony weapons violation and a manslaughter conviction on my hands. 

The Sheriff of Dakota County stamps each gun permit with the Latin phrase for Under Protest.  He has gotten death threats from ‘gun nuts’ for his actions.  The Hennepin country Sheriff says it will continue to accept applications for permits, but will not issue any until there is new legal clarification.  These two Sheriff’s should be congratulated for taking a public stand, and I wish to do so publicly. 

We can be sure that the new gun law will be reinstated.  Broken promises by a discredited researcher, illegal actions by the legislate, in spite of the protests of the greater majority, against the protests of law enforcement, against common sense – we will have a liberal concealed weapons law. 

Perhaps other countries should consider giving political asylum to those Americans who do not want to live under the shadow of the NRA and the gun.  

Michael Berglin

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