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Should Minnesota repeal its gun-permit law?

Each week we select a news story, Letter to the Editor, editorial or column that's generated a lot of feedback at PostBulletin.com and reprint some of those comments on this page. This week's topic is a Letter to the Editor from Suzanne Greenleaf of Rochester, published Feb. 17. She argued against a proposal by Rep. Steve Drazkowski, a Republican from Mazeppa, who is trying to repeal a law requiring people to apply for and receive a permit from local law enforcement before they are allowed to purchase a handgun or assault rifle. The current law includes a seven-day waiting period.

Greenleaf wrote: "Both the Minnesota police officer and police chief associations strongly oppose overturning this law. It is important to listen to their concerns when it comes to handgun sales. The current law, which provides for the waiting period, is needed and should remain in place."

Below are some of the comments we received.

"Any waiting period is a direct assault on our Second Amendment rights, clearly.

What happens when our tyrannical federal government needs to be kept in check via citizen militias and all the citizens are stuck waiting for handguns. It could happen."

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"Please readjust the tinfoil hat. Seriously? Tyrannical? I'm surprised you'd still live here seeing as your rights are constantly being violated. You're still quite free to leave, you know."

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"There is something seriously wrong with your thinking if you are willing to let criminals and impaired people get their hands on guns, just so that you can have what you want immediately. I don't see what the harm is in waiting seven days to get your gun. If you need a gun for a specific event, plan accordingly and go buy it a week or so before you need it. Better yet, take your arsenal and go live high on a mountain somewhere with the rest of the militant patriots who hate the laws that are in place to protect the rest of us."

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"Yes, the Minnesota police officer and police chief associations oppose overturning this law. They also told us that if the 'Must Issue' law was passed  there would be shootouts in every city and town in Minnesota involving people with handgun permits. The bloodbath would be horrendous. No one would dare walk down the streets of Rochester because of all the gunfire. Of course, they were lying to us and most people knew it. That's why the law passed. Now they are trying to use scare tactics on us again. Guess what. We learned the first time not to believe you. Just for fun look up how many people were killed in Minnesota by handgun permit holders and how many people were killed by (non-lethal) Tazers by the police since the permit law went into effect."

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"What's the big deal? Having to wait seven days... so what?"

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"Gun rights actually reduce crime. Criminals and bad guys hate the Second Amendment, because they never know who has a gun."

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"Yet another example of right-wing extremists doing the opposite of their campaign promises and spending OUR tax dollars to push an agenda that serves no one but the gun dealers and does nothing except push the buttons of the ignorant. Stop wasting our tax dollars and get to work!"

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"Waiting period? This is how it works in Minnesota: You apply with your local sheriff for a permit to purchase, that takes a week or two, and the permit is good for a year. Then you go into a gun store, buy a handgun and walk out with it in about 30 minutes. They use the time prior to issuing the permit to purchase run the checks, not when you go in to buy the gun."

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"Seems like a good place to cut a little of that evil spending everyone seems so up in arms about lately. Checking backgrounds for thousands of people ties up valuable money and police resources doing something that gets done at a federal level anyway. The argument that this saves any lives doesn't work when you consider that every crime gets logged into a computer that connects to the national database. Do you really think the police call everyone's former employers, friends, all the surrounding police departments, mental hospitals, etc., every time someone applies for a permit to purchase? So what good is this law doing, exactly?"

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"We should not only be charging for these background checks, but adding surcharge taxes and using it as a source of revenue. As well as taxes on ammunition, licensing fees, certification programs. If people want to carry around something that has long been proven to kill more innocents than it ever has deterred crime, make them pay through the nose for it."

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"On the flip side, the police talked about the huge burden that would be placed on them when they passed the 'shall issue' law. Seems like they want it both ways."

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"I normally don't read Doonesbury (too liberal for my tastes) but last Sunday's was right on. Three thousand Americans died in the 9/11 attacks. So, we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and have spent trillions of dollars and had thousands more killed. Since that attack, 250,000 Americans have died from gunshot wounds. Our response? Weaken gun laws! Eliminating the background check is just another step into the theater of the absurd and should not happen."

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