Guest Opinion: I will always vote to uphold the Second Amendment
As your state representative, I have always been upfront and transparent with you about my strong support for the Second Amendment and law-abiding Minnesotan's right to protect themselves and their families. I will always vote to uphold the Second Amendment.
Unfortunately, I am disappointed to report that two gun-grabbing bills were passed by the Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday evening.
The first bill would impose new restrictions and barriers for law-abiding Minnesotans seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights. The new background check procedures in this legislation would make it extremely difficult for folks to lend their firearms to family members, friends or neighbors and could turn individuals into criminals if they don’t follow the new, complicated transfer process spelled out in the bill.
Studies from the Department of Justice show the vast majority of criminally acquired guns are obtained from illegal sources, and a study conducted by UC-Davis found no changes in firearm homicide or suicide rates in the decade following California’s enactment of a universal background check law.
We know that this bill will do little to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms who already have no intention of following the law in the first place.
The second bill not only has significant Second Amendment implications, but it also raises serious questions regarding our right to due process.
This bill establishes a “red-flag” process that would allow an individual to file a petition with the courts to have your firearms seized by law enforcement if they believe you are a risk to yourself or others.
The order can be handed down after an ex-parte court hearing. This means that a hearing before a judge can take place without the accused present to defend themselves or to contest the order. This effectively treats an individual as guilty until proven innocent, which goes against the principles of our legal system.
Thankfully, a pro-Second Amendment, Republican majority in the Senate is ready to make sure these bills will not become law. While your constitutional rights will be firmly protected this year, we, unfortunately, cannot be certain that future legislatures will vote to uphold this sacred right.
That’s why it’s important that our county consider adopting a resolution that would reaffirm the Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens living in Crow Wing County. Numerous counties across Minnesota have adopted similar resolutions with several more under consideration.
The adoption of any such resolution is wholly and completely to be decided and determined by our county board of commissioners. The decision is theirs, and theirs alone. That being said, it's usually county officials communicating with my office about state issues impacting local decision-makers, but in this case, there has been a large volume of constituent correspondence asking me to support this effort. I hope Crow Wing County commissioners consider pursuing the resolution as a public declaration to their constituents further protecting their rights.
As long as I am your state representative, I will continue to protect our 2nd Amendment rights guaranteeing law-abiding Minnesotans the ability to enjoy shooting sports, hunt your favorite game species, but most importantly, the ability to protect yourself and your family. In the meantime, let’s remain vigilant and proactive in our support of this important constitutional right.
Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, represents District 10A in the Minnesota House of Representatives