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Sen. Torrey Westrom: Defending the Second Amendment

ST. PAUL -- “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” – II Amendment, U.S. Constitution.

Over 200 years have passed since the writing of the constitution. The country and the State of Minnesota have changed; however, the beliefs and ideals that were laid down in the constitution are as true and prevalent today as they were then.

Under the First Amendment, we do not limit the people’s freedom of speech, right to assemble, or worship. Neither should we limit their right to keep and bear arms. Some DFL Senate and House Members have introduced legislation to expand gun controls that would infringe upon their Second Amendment rights.

There are three bills in particular (Senate File 458, Senate File 503, and Senate File 557) that would seriously limit the right for law-abiding citizens to own firearms. Senate File 458 will cause an undue burden on law-abiding citizens by requiring them to sell or transfer firearms through a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer. On Monday, March 18, Senate File 458 was slated for a vote on the Senate Floor until Sen. Bill Ingebrightsen (R - Alexandria) made a procedural motion to refer it to the Rules Committee to force more deliberation on this bill.

Senate File 503 holds sellers accountable if a buyer uses a gun to commit a crime. There is concern with this bill because knowing what someone is planning to do with a firearm is quite different from predicting what someone will do with a firearm.

Senate File 557 would allow law enforcement to charge people of being guilty or mentally ill and take away their gun rights before they are proven guilty or mentally ill by a court of law. Instead, we should focus our energies on and attempt to address the underlying shortfalls we have in our society, such as helping to raise support for mental health issues and those who might be suffering from those illnesses.

I will continue to be an ardent voice for the Second Amendment and uphold my oath to the Constitution we all took upon swearing-in. I have received a flood of e-mails from concerned citizens in District 12 about this issue. As one of them profoundly stated, “You need the Second Amendment to protect the First.”