Poppe among those who blocked gun bill this session

Published 10:56 am Monday, May 6, 2013

In the midst of several significant bills swirling around the Minnesota House, Senate and conference committees, one topic will no longer be in the discussion this session: gun legislation.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said Wednesday the House won’t vote on any gun control bills this year. And local Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, was one of several rural democrats who strongly opposed any sort of gun legislation this year.

While proposed restrictions against assault weapons have quickly faltered at state and federal levels, increased background checking has recently been the hot topic. Still, Poppe thinks proposals for that have been too hasty.

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“What level of background checks?” Poppe asked. “What are you checking?”

Many officials, nationally and locally, including Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi and Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger, have supported the idea of stricter background checks. Yet Poppe is cautious.

“I understand that a lot of people want background checks, and I do think we have got to have some discussion,” she said. “What is the right balance, and when and where is it appropriate.”

Poppe mainly spoke about potential negative impacts on law-abiding gun owners. Because that is unclear, she wasn’t going to support stricter measures. She has heard plenty of outcry from gun owners about fear of a national gun registry.

Still, Thissen encourages gun control supporters to keep thinking of ideas for next year’s session.

While another gun bill was circulating in the Senate, Senate supporters of stricter regulations were waiting, closely eyeing movement in the House earlier this week. Poppe said Thissen’s decision killed any momentum a Senate bill had.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.