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More Concealed Weapons in Minnesota?

July 13, 2009

DULUTH, Minn. – Supporters of limits on concealed weapons fear a surprise move in Congress that would force states like Minnesota to allow virtually anyone to carry a loaded, concealed gun in public. Joan Peterson, the Minnesota spokeswoman for the Million Mom March Northland Chapter, warns that such legislation would let nonresidents who carry weapons in Minnesota follow laws that exist in their home state, rather than stiffer Minnesota regulations.

"This would force states to allow individuals to carry loaded guns around in public. It would force Minnesota, for example, to accept the permit requirements from other states that might be less stringent than our own."

She says the timing of the legislation is unsure, but it could be introduced as early as today or at any time the Senate is in session. Peterson fears tying the legislation to an important defense spending bill may make some lawmakers inclined to vote for the whole bill, including the gun segment.

Minnesota does not need wide-open gun laws, Peterson asserts, because the state already has specific categories that list handgun permit conditions.

"We don't want this because we have a certain set of rules for permit holders and they are different from other states' rules. If their concealed weapons rules are less stringent than ours and the federal law is changed, Minnesota may have to let people carry guns in public places who shouldn't be doing so."

Peterson says under the proposed provisions in the Senate, those carrying concealed weapons only need to meet the minimum federal requirements to possess a gun and be permitted to carry a concealed weapon in their home state. Peterson notes 47 states have some form of "concealed carry" legislation. Supporters of the measure say it would help eliminate the confusing patchwork of state laws now covering concealed carry.

More information is available at www.bradycenter.org.

Jim Wishner, Public News Service - MN