ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 6, 2020) – A “constitutional carry” bill filed in the Minnesota Senate would make it legal for Minnesotans to carry concealed firearms in the state without a permit, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.
Sen. Andrew Lang (R- Olivia) and three other Republican cosponsors introduced Senate Bill 3156 (SB3156) on Feb. 13. The legislation would amend sections of the state law allowing people to carry without a permit, leaving the prohibition only for those who are not legally allowed to own a weapon.
Under current law, residents must have a permit to carry a handgun in public. A permit application must be submitted to the sheriff’s office in the resident’s county.
The bill would also remove some restrictions on open carry. The state would still issue concealed carry permits for those wishing to travel to states with CCDW permit reciprocity.
If passed, SB3156 would take a small step towards returning to the original vision of the founders, in which citizens had a duty to be armed rather than need permission to carry. In the original 13 colonies, all but Quaker (pacifist) Pennsylvania required able-bodied men to have a working musket and respond to musters. It’s why George Mason said at the Virginia Ratifying Convention that the militia was “the whole of the people, except for a few public officials.” The Founders wanted militia to defend the colonies, not a standing military that could threaten liberties
EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While state bills loosening restrictions on carrying firearms do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of laws like this subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.
The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions such as passing SB3156 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.
SB3156 has been referred to the Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, where it will require a majority vote to pass before it came receive a floor vote.
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