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Proposal would help prosecutors crack down on gun crimes

Two DFL legislators who’ve been prosecutors and a prosecutor who was once a legislator said Thursday they’re pushing for tougher gun laws in Minnesota.

State Sen. Ron Latz of St. Louis Park, who was once a prosecutor, and state Rep. John Lesch, a St. Paul city prosecutor, held a press conference with Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who served in the state Senate in the 1980s.

The plan, developed by Freeman and supported by the board of Urban Minnesota County Attorneys, would add some domestic assaults to the list of violent crimes, and making it a felony for those convicted of those crimes to later possess a gun.

It also raises penalties for juveniles who possess pistols and assault weapons, makes it a crime to help get a gun for someone who is not legally allowed to possess one, make it a crime for felons to possess ammunition and clarifies that people committed by a court as mentally ill and dangerous may not possess a weapon even if the court order is stayed.

Freeman said the goal is to “allow prosecutors throughout the state to get guns out of the hands of people who have shown they are dangerous and put them back in prison if they are found with a gun or ammunition.”

The backers say it will be just one of efforts in the Legislation designed to curb gun violence.

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