A couple weeks back we took a look at one of two major pieces of gun control legislation in front of Minnesotan lawmakers this session:

SF 434 which has to do with amending current background check laws to include to include private party transfers of all firearms including shotguns and traditional hunting rifles.

That bill, which doesn’t have a companion in the House, is currently sitting in the Judicial and Public Safety Finance Policy Committee chaired by Republican Warren Limmer of the 34thDistrict, which includes parts of Hennepin County.

The second piece of newsworthy legislation that was introduced by Democrats in January is SF436, which is a bill that would enable law enforcement and family members to petition a court to prohibit people from possessing firearms if they pose a significant danger to themselves or others by possessing a firearm.

It amends Minnesota Statute 2018, section 624.713, subdivision 1.

Better known to the public as the “Red Flag” law, this bill is sitting in the same committee as the background legislation. Both have been there since being being introduced.

Like the background check expansion bill, the “Red Flag” legislation includes the word “firearm” instead of specific types of guns.

Family members, as defined in the bill, would include spouses and former spouses, parents and children, persons related by blood, persons who are presently residing together or have resided together in the past, a man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, and persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.

Now, I’m not sure what that last line means as it would seem the term “significant” could take on different meanings to different people.

But if you take all the definitions of “family members” as spelled out above, it becomes pretty obvious that’s a wide variety of people who would gain a lot of power under this law, should it pass.

There are two ways one’s guns could be seized:

A hearing with the gun owner. If the court finds it is more likely than not the gun owner is a danger to themselves or others, it can issue an “extreme risk protective order” lasting between six months and two years.

An “emergency extreme risk protective order” can be given if the court finds reasonable evidence the gun owner poses an immediate and present danger to themselves or others. The emergency order could be issued without hearing from the gun owner. It would expire after 14 days if no further hearing was held.

After getting such an order, a gun owner must transfer their guns to a federally licensed firearms dealer or law enforcement agency within 24 hours.

Firearms dealers or law enforcement agencies may charge a fee to store the guns.

The gun owners can get their firearms back after the protective order expires.

Sen. Ron Latz, the St. Louis Park, Minn. Democrat that introduced the two bills, told media in January that “My bottom line would be if you are a law-abiding gun owner and you don’t have a prohibitive criminal history, you really have nothing to worry about from these bills. ”

When it comes to the background check expansion, he’s probably right but again, it begs the question: Does a red flag law keep hands out of the bad guys?

That’s questionable.

There are currently 14 states that make background checks mandatory on all sales more than a dozen that have passed laws supporting emergency risk protection orders (ERPOs), including Maryland, home of Baltimore.

According to a media report earlier this year from WAMU, since the red flag law went into effect in October 2018, Maryland has fielded more than 360 requests for ERPOs, according to data provided by the Montgomery County sheriff’s office. Slightly fewer than half, 173, have been granted by a judge.

According to a story in the Baltimore Sun, in the last month in Baltimore City, non-fatal shootings are up nearly 90 percent from the same time last year.

Twenty-two days into 2019, there have been 40 non-fatal shootings and 18 people killed.

On one recent Monday alone, seven people were shot in Baltimore City; one person died.

That’s forty times in a month and a half that no one saw it coming.

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Lake Management Plans

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is looking for public comment on a number of lake management plans in the central Iron Range and Grand Rapids area, including the Kinney Pit and the trout population there.

Anglers and others interested in learning about or commenting on strategies for managing lakes and streams in this area are invited to ask questions and submit comments on lake management plans up until the Friday, March 15 deadline.

Management plans describe the past, present, and desired future conditions of the water resources. The plans identify specific management activities planned for that lake or stream in the next five to 20 years and are an opportunity to weigh in on the management of area lakes.

Every year DNR fisheries staff prepares or revises individual lake management plans for several waters in each management area. In the Grand Rapids area, plans for the following lakes and streams will be reviewed:

Arrowhead – general fish management.

• Battle – general fish management.

• Bear – general fish management, walleye stocking review.

• Burnt Shanty – general fish management.

• Burrows – general fish management, walleye stocking review.

• Deer (Effie) – general fish management, walleye stocking and regulation review.

• Erskine – general fish management, trout management review.

• Highland – general fish management.

• Jessie – general fish management, walleye stocking review.

• Johnson (Marcell) – general fish management, walleye stocking review.

• Judson Mine Pit – general fish management, trout management review.

• Kinney Mine Pit – general fish management, trout management review.

• Little Ball Club – general fish management.

• Little Deer – general fish management.

• Little Sand – general fish management.

• Little Splithand – general fish management.

• Moose (Deer River) – general fish management, walleye stocking and regulation review.

• Moose (Northome) – general fish management, walleye stocking review.

• Owen – general fish management, walleye stocking review.

• Pancake – general fish management.

• Pancake Creek – general fish management, trout management review.

• Pickerel – general fish management.

• Pokegama Creek – general fish management, trout management review.

• Rice – general fish management.

• Sand Creek – general fish management, trout management review.

• Splithand – general fish management, walleye stocking and regulation review.

• Swan – general fish management, walleye stocking and regulation review.

• Trout (Coleraine) – general fish management, walleye stocking and regulation review.

Current plans for lakes and streams in the area, as well as recent fish population assessment information are available for review at the DNR’s Grand Rapids area fisheries office, at 1201 East Hwy 2, Grand Rapids, between 8 a. m. and 4:30 p. m. For more information, call or email David Weitzel at 218-328-8835 or david. weitzel@state.mn.us.

Public comments on management of these waters will be taken through Friday, March 15. Comments and suggestions for management of any other streams and lakes in the Grand Rapids area are welcomed at any time and will be considered when those plans are due for review.

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