Friday, February 16, 2024

Minnesota Proposes Expansive Assault Weapon Ban, Including .22 Rimfires

House File 3570, currently under review by the Minnesota House Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy, proposes a ban on so-called ‘assault weapons’ by expanding the definitions used to categorize these firearms. This legislation aims to halt the sale or transfer of these weapons, initiate a buyback program, and allocate funds from the general fund for its implementation.


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The bill categorizes a wide range of firearms as ‘semiautomatic military-style assault weapons’ and includes prohibitions on various models or similar firearms, along with those that have certain modifications or accessories like protruding grips and barrel shrouds. The proposed law strictly limits the transfer of these weapons, with narrow exceptions for law enforcement and military use.

Critics argue that this bill combines elements from previous semi-auto bans, intensifying restrictions by reducing the criteria for banning to the presence of “one or more” specified features, moving away from the 1994 federal ban’s requirement for multiple features.

The bill also removes exemptions for firearms recognized for sporting purposes, highlighting a departure from previous legislation and underscoring the strict stance of Minnesota’s lawmakers against the broad ownership of firearms.

Notably, the bill specifies that ‘semi-automatic military-style assault weapons’ include rimfire rifles with fixed magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds, directly impacting firearms like the Marlin 70620 Model 60 .22 Long Rifle, which has a capacity of 14 + 1 rounds. This specification has led to criticism that the legislation broadly categorizes everyday firearms as excessively dangerous.

The legislation has sparked debate over its implications for gun ownership and Second Amendment rights, with concerns about the potential for widespread restrictions on firearms that are commonly used for recreational purposes.

As the bill progresses, it reflects the ongoing tension between efforts to regulate firearms more strictly and the rights of gun owners, set against a backdrop of national debate on gun control measures. With similar efforts observed in states like California and New York, the discussion around HF 3570 highlights the complex landscape of gun legislation in the United States, raising questions about the balance between public safety and constitutional rights.

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