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House Public Safety Committee Chair Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, addresses a testifier during a Jan. 22 legislative hearing. (File photo: Kevin Featherly)

Gun bills will get hearing at Capitol

Editor’s note: The location of this hearing has been changed from Edina middle school to the Capitol. 

Two gun-safety bills—House File 8 and House File 9—will be heard at the Capitol on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform committee legislative hearing will be held at 5 p.m.

Taking other committee members by surprise, committee Chair Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, made the announcement at the beginning of Thursday’s Public Safety hearing.

Afterward, Mariani said he chose the site because American schools have been at the center of the gun-safety debate.

There have been a number of mass shootings at schools over the past two decades. Most recently, a seventh-grader was arrested on Jan. 14 after authorities said he fired a gun at a Roswell, New

Mexico, middle school, intending to kill his ex-girlfriend. Two students were wounded, one critically.

On Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida killed 17 students and staff members and wounded 17 others in a shooting that sparked massive, nationwide protests.

“Arguably [schools] have been the most tragically impacted,” Mariani said. “And therefore it has really been the driver of a lot of the conversation.”

Mariani said he expects to “have a good conversation” at the hearing. He said security likely will be provided by a combination of local law enforcement and the House Sergeant at Arms office.

HF 8, authored by Rep. Dave Pinto, DFL-St. Paul, would institute a system of universal background checks on firearms purchases.

HF 9, authored by freshman Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendoza Heights, would create “extreme risk protection orders” to allow law enforcement and family members to petition courts to temporarily remove firearms from people at imminent danger of committing gun violence.

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