Burnsville lawmaker puts forward bill to strengthen straw purchase penalties

Courtesy: Minnesota Legislature
Courtesy: Minnesota Legislature

(St. Paul, MN) -- A Minnesota lawmaker is putting forward a bill that would strengthen penalties for those who purchase guns for felons.

Representative Kaela Berg from Burnsville says the bill closes loopholes to ensure current laws hold offenders accountable by up to five years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The bill was laid over and has the potential to be included in a larger House bill. Representative Berg's district fell victim to a shootout between authorities and a convicted felon in possession of firearms illegally, which led to the deaths of two police officers and a first responder. 

"This bill is one more step we can take in addition to other actions taken by this committee to keep our families and law enforcement safe from gun violence,” she said. “This bill closes loopholes in current laws in order to hold offenders accountable.”

Several house republicans spoke out against a binary trigger ban within the bill, an augment that can be made to specific firearms to fire on both the pull and release of the trigger. The concerns related to Second Amendment issues, and argued the ban should be placed into a separate bill.