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Republican lawmakers look to loosen gun restrictions in Minnesota

Plus: Sun Country to offer nonstop flight to California wine country; Mankato man unhappy about an Alice Cooper concert; a former deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce arrested in prostitution sting; and more.

State Rep. Jim Nash
MinnPost photo by Erin Hinrichs

Brian Edwards of the AP says, “Republican lawmakers in Minnesota want to remove permitting requirements to carry a gun and create a ‘stand your ground’ law with pair of bills that a House committee heard Wednesday. The GOP-led Legislature is seeking to capitalize on its majority by passing the two bills that are popular with their constituents. The elimination of permit requirements and broader immunity for shooters acting in self-defense were debated at hearings a day after a gun safety rally at the Capitol in opposition to the two measures. Republican Rep. Jim Nash, who authored both bills, said they will strengthen the state’s Second Amendment rights without compromising safety.” Because nothing is more imperiled than  Second Amendment rights.

At MPR, Brandt Williams writes, “If passed, the law would still allow gun owners to voluntarily undergo training. The bill was also opposed by several law enforcement groups. Representatives from the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and the Minnesota County Attorney’s Association all testified against the proposal. Dennis Flaherty, of the Minnesota police and peace officer’s group said the bill poses a safety risk for law enforcement officers. People who favor the bill say the time and money required to undergo handgun training to obtain a permit can prevent some people from exercising their Second Amendment rights.” Say what?

Need fresher pinot? Kristen Leigh Painter in the Strib tells us, “Sun Country Airlines soon will fly Twin Cities passengers to California’s wine country — the only carrier to offer nonstop service on the route. The Eagan-based airline announced plans for Wednesday service between Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport during northern California’s harvest season.” Santa Rosa. Nice place.

What year is this again? Laura Engle of FoxNews says, “The hard rocking, theatrical loving, Alice Cooper is currently out tour, grinding out his hits for his fans, but apparently not everyone in Minnesota is looking forward to the volume of his show: That’s North Mankato resident Barb Church, addressing the City Council to protest the loud concerts that she claims ramp up to 110 decibels at times when hard rock and rap concerts play across the river from her community.” I thought Alice had been buried in a Scottsdale golf course 20 years ago.

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That guy. The AP reports, “A former Wisconsin sheriff’s deputy who killed his wife and sister-in-law but was found not legally responsible because of his ailing health died Tuesday, his defense attorney said. Attorney Jessa Nicholson Goetz, who represented ex-deputy Andrew Steele during his trial, said the 42-year-old died at UW Hospital in Madison of complications from Lou Gehrig’s disease. … Investigators said Steele fatally shot his wife, Ashlee Steele, and her sister, Kacee Tollefsbol of Lake Elmo, at the couple’s suburban Madison home in 2014, then tried to kill himself. Steele’s attorneys said he suffered from a neurocognitive disorder resulting from Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, which attacks nerve cells that control muscles. Prosecutors said Steele suffered from a depression disorder but was not insane, and that he planned the murders.”

More problematic than expired tabs. Says Mara Gottfried for the PiPress, “A deputy commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Commerce was among several men arrested in an undercover prostitution sting in St. Paul. Police took Michael Shane Deal, 46, of Litchfield, Minn., into custody on Tuesday about 3 p.m., according to a police report. Deal, who could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday, was deputy commissioner of the state Commerce Department’s financial institutions division, but was no longer an employee of the department as of Wednesday evening.”