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MN: New law is trouble only for those who hate fir

Josey1Josey1 Member Posts: 9,598 ✭✭
Joe DeSua: New law is trouble only for those who hate firearms
Joe DeSua

Published August 9, 2003 JDCP09

David Lillehaug's commentary, "Stumbling on surprises in the new gun bill, and hoping for a few fixes," (Op Ex, Aug. 3) surprises me, considering he is a lawyer and I am not. I especially love his ending comment about how supporters of the bill refused to allow free debate. This after years of trying to get the DFL-run Senate to stop tying up the bill in committee and allow a free vote, and also after the longest debate on the Senate floor in recent history. It was debated beyond the point of being ridiculous and was finally voted on.

Let's look at just a few of his "unwelcome surprises," as he puts it. He thinks it is unconstitutional to ask a faith community to post a sign if it doesn't want a parishioner to carry a firearm on the premises. Somehow this sign is affecting the free exercise of religion. Can the same be said of the signs I often see in front of churches saying, "No parking, fire lane"? Are religious entities totally immune from state or federal laws? For example, can their buildings be inspected by the state to see if the buildings are up to fire code? I believe they can, but nobody shouts "freedom of religion" when they are inspected. It is only those with a firearms phobia who suddenly find religion, and then suddenly have a problem with posting a sign. By the way, nobody is required to post a sign if they don't want to, but apparently permit holders are supposed to use telepathy to determine when they are unwelcome.

Then there is the ever-popular "It's not really a concealed law." Guess what? Minnesota has never had a concealed firearms law. The wording in the new law is exactly the same as the law it replaced, which was in effect for almost 30 years and never caused a problem. Before that you didn't need a permit.

Somehow Lillehaug has determined that the permit is not limited to pistols. Funny, my permit specifically says, "State of Minnesota Permit to Carry a PISTOL." Operative word here is pistol. Guess I can't strap on the old 12-gauge shotgun with 28-inch barrel and go walking down the street.

I don't know what sort of lawyer Lillehaug is, but he seems to voice grave concern that if a person is not found "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" he may be issued a permit. Aren't we supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, or am I in the wrong country? The law provides an opportunity for sheriffs to deny a permit based on some provable objection -- unlike the old law, which allowed them to discriminate at will. Once again I have to ask, isn't that what is supposed to happen in America? If a permit is denied, shouldn't a citizen have the right to appeal to a judge? Maybe when a police officer pulls over a minority driver for no apparent reason and searches his car without a warrant, that is using his discretion, not racial profiling, as some claim.

Lillehaug has a problem with landlords not being able to further regulate their tenants. I believe that "bearing arms" is a constitutional right in this country, so why should a landlord have the power to take that right away from anyone?

I could go on, but to what end? Lillehaug's grave concern is based on a firearms phobia. Pick any law and someone can find fault with it. No law is perfect, but this one goes a long way toward being very workable and addressing everyone's concerns.

Joe DeSua, a manager, lives in Apple Valley.

"If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege." - Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878<P>
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