Big crowd turns out in Osakis to defend Second Amendment gun rights

Close to 200 people showed up at the Osakis Community Center Saturday afternoon, March 18, to hear about gun-control bills that are moving through the Minnesota legislative process.

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Volunteer activist Katrina Lunden of Annandale, front, with the microphone, spoke at a town hall meeting in Osakis Saturday, March 18, about proposed gun-control bills.
Celeste Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press

OSAKIS — Close to 200 people showed up at the Osakis Community Center Saturday afternoon, March 18, to hear about gun-control bills that are moving through the Minnesota Legislature. Both supporters and opponents of the bills were represented.

The two-hour long meeting was emceed by Bret Bussman, a gun rights supporter from Todd County. He said everyone at the meeting was there to learn and that it was a non-partisan event.

“We're not going to come up here and talk about Republican this or Democrat that. Our focus here today is the Second Amendment and that's it,” said Bussman. “This is a town hall, an information session. We’ll be able to ask questions at the end related to the Second Amendment.”

The panel of speakers included volunteer activist Katrina Lunden of Annandale; Rep. Mike Wiener, R-Long Prairie; Sen. Nathan Wesenberg, R-Little Falls; Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria; Rep. Tom Murphy, R-Underwood; retired law enforcement officer Charles Deutschmann; Todd County Sheriff Mike Allen; and Todd County Commissioner Randy Neumann.

Lunden first went through each of the bills, which included the following:


  • HF 14/SF 1116 – Criminal background checks required for firearm transfers, and grounds modified for disqualification of transferee permit.
  • HF 15/SF 1117 – Law enforcement and family members would be enabled to petition a court to prohibit people from possessing firearms if they pose a significant danger to themselves or others by possessing a firearm, and money appropriated.
  • HE 396/SF 916 – Safe storage of firearms and ammunition is required, violation of safe storage statute included as ineligibility to possess firearm, locking device required to be included in each firearm transfer, and criminal penalties imposed.
  • HF 601/SF 606 – Lost and stolen firearms are required to be reported promptly to law enforcement.
  • SF 1723 – Banning possession of large capacity ammunition magazines and other weapons; ban on purchasing new semi-automatic rifles "assault weapons," no more than one gun purchased every 30 days; prohibiting open carry of firearms; requiring firearms to be registered, liability insurance required, gun owner license required.

Lunden, who said she was a volunteer with the Minnesota Gun Owners caucus, said she was not speaking on its behalf.
“I’m not their mouthpiece today,” she said. “I am a regular person like the rest of you,” said Lunden. “Yes, I’m a gun owner. Yes, I take the constitution and the amendments pretty damn seriously, particularly the Second Amendment. I see what the news media has to say about them and I’m telling you now, the news media lies.”

As she went through each of the proposed bills, Lunden explained why she thought they were bad ideas. For example, on proposed bill HF/14/SF1116, which is universal background checks, she said it’s supposed to be about gun sales, but the bill talks about transfers as well, which is where it gets a little tricky.

Lunden said if two guys were going to go hunting and one guy’s gun was broken, he couldn’t just ask to borrow the other guy’s gun. Loaning a gun to someone would be a transfer, which would require the person to go down to their local sheriff’s office and submit to a background check. And if that person has had any contact with law enforcement, such as a speeding ticket, law enforcement can refuse that person, she said.

Then, she said, if that person does pass the background check and now it's the end of the season and that person wants to give the gun back to its rightful owner, that person, even though he is the owner, would have to go through the same process because it would count as a separate transfer.

“Anyone see a problem with all this?” she asked.

As for HF 15/SF 1117, which is considered the Reg Flag Gun Confiscation Order, someone can petition the court to prohibit someone else from possessing a firearm. Lunden said this means law enforcement officials could show up at your house at 3 a.m. without advanced notice and confiscate your weapons.

“There is no hearing. There is no due process,” she said. “If you have an old boyfriend who is pissed off at you, they can file for a red flag.”

She said there would be little to no penalty for them lying. And that there are no law enforcement officials or judges who are going to take a chance that they are lying because there could be a risk that something goes wrong.


“They’re all going to sign the dotted line and the first thing you know is when the door gets kicked in at 3 o’clock in the morning,” said Lunden, who added that that plan could go sideways and someone could end up leaving in a box. “That’s why this is a bad idea.”

The last bill she talked about, SF1723, which is registration of all firearms and banning of others, is what Lunden called the “nuclear bill” because she said it takes away everything.

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Close to 200 people showed up at the Osakis Community Center Saturday afternoon, March 18, to hear about gun-control bills that are moving through the Minnesota legislative process.
Celeste Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press


Deutschmann, who worked in law enforcement for 28 years, said he lives near Nevis and did not represent any organization

Stating he was quoting legislation, Deutschmann said that nothing infringes on a constitutional right to bear firearms.

He said, “The legislation is narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest while placing minimal burdens on individuals who wish to own and possess a firearm. That is nothing but pure gaslighting, a twisting sense of reality. It's a ploy for a give and take in the Legislature for negotiating, for ending up with a so-called reasonable compromise resulting in some single piece of legislation, which then can be touted as providing protection from gun violence. You know, they just lit another torch as that's gaslighting, too.”

Deutschmann also shared some statistics.

According to the FBI, he said, from 1990 through 2000, there was a drop in crime even though there were 200 million more firearms purchased.


“It’s patently false that more guns equals more crime. It’s not true that the enormous number of private citizens who own guns have a nefarious intent behind them,” he said.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, Deutschmann said, the states that had the most handguns purchased had the largest percentage of drops in murder rates.

“A 10% increase in purchases reduced the murder rate by 1.4%,” he said.

According to the Department of Justice, he said, over 92% of violent crimes do not involve a firearm. Even when the media’s focus on public mass murders, Deutschmann said that 94% of mass shootings happen in places where citizens are banned from having a firearm. He also noted that during the period from 2014 to 2021, out of the 360 mass shootings, which are defined as two more fatalities, 124 were stopped by armed citizens.

“Further restrictions placed on the Second Amendment would have the direct opposite (affect) of proposed Minnesota state legislation,” he said. “(The) legislation regulating firearms does not pertain to an ideal set of laws that ought to bind criminals, but the ideal set of laws to bind everyone else and make them criminals.”

Gun shop owner

Judi Anderson, owner of Osakis General Store and Guns Galore, said that one of the things that concerns her is what would happen in the middle of the night if an intruder came into her house. She said her husband sleeps like a rock, but that she doesn’t. With the safe storage bill, she would have to grab her gun from one safe and then her ammo from another and she questioned how she would be able to defend herself.

“I’m not a very big person. What am I going to do? Am I going to bite someone?” Anderson said. “How am I going to defend myself?”

Anderson said she was also worried about all the farmers in rural areas, who she said most of them keep a loaded shotgun in their barns to fend off wild critters.


“My fear is that every single farmer will be a criminal,” she said.

As a gun shop owner, Anderson said gun laws in Minnesota are not lax by any means, but that she has about 2,000 guns in her shop and not one of them has “jumped off a shelf and hurt anybody.”

She also questioned the proposed bills because by the sound of it, she would have to put locks on all 2,000 guns.

“They all come with locks. That's already in law. But do I have to install all those locks and then am I going to have to move all the ammo to the other side of the store?” she said. “And then I wonder, if someone's buying a gun and ammo, do they have to go home and take the gun home first and then come back and buy the ammo?”

Anderson said some of those things may sound “silly” but they are things to think about. She said she's concerned even though some of the components make a little bit of sense.

“I don't think you should be able to go to a gun show and buy a gun without a background check. That's just my own personal thought. I'm not opposed to that. But it drags things out. It's too broad the way that it's written,” she said, referring to the Universal Background Check bill. “I think those are the things that we have to look at. Not that these bills, in their intent, are bad. I think in many cases the intent is good. But they're too broad.”

More reactions

Allen, the Todd County Sheriff, said that legislators are trying to take little pieces of people's rights.

“If we were standing here today and a bill was introduced to say we’re going to take your rights of free speech away, there would be a complete uproar in this world, in this nation,” said the sheriff. “People would go crazy. But because it’s guns, most people don’t want to get involved. That’s why we’re here, to keep talking about it. To make sure we’re doing the right things for our families and our future.”


Commissioner Neumann spoke about his great uncle from Czechoslovakia who said to never let the government take firearms away or you’d end up like his country.

“The government is chiseling away at our right to bear arms,” said Neumann.

He also pointed out that Todd County is a "sanctuary county," which means it supports the Second Amendment and will do everything it can to keep the Second Amendment within the county.

Rep. Murphy said the time to fight is now.

"The time to stand up is now. The time to stand out is now,” he said, noting that people need to get involved. He said legislators need to hear from the people.

Rep. Franson read a statement from Sen. Torry Westrom, R-Alexandria, who was unable to make the meeting because he's recovering at home from a snowmobile accident.

Westrom said he was grateful for all the “patriots” who were in attendance at the meeting who know they need to keep fighting to preserve the republic of the state and country, which also means the Second Amendment.

In his statement, Westrom said there wouldn't be a First Amendment if people don’t keep the Second Amendment. He said everyone should know he stands with them as a fighter to preserve both. "The land of the free is never out of debt to the brave," he said.


Franson said legislators took an oath to defend the Constitution, but that not everyone sees it the same way. She believes the bills can be stopped in the Senate, but she's afraid that in the House, the bills would be passed in an omnibus bill.

“The bills are still going through the committee process,” said Franson. “But your voice has been heard loud and clear. We are getting your emails, your phone calls, your visits to the Capitol. Everything helps. Don’t think just because you live in a very red district, you can be lazy. We need you actively participating in this because your rights are on the line.”

Franson noted that not everyone who attended Saturday’s meeting supports the Second Amendment.

“I just want to thank those who are here who do not support the Second Amendment for being respectful today, as well. Thank you,” she said.

Wesenberg couldn’t stress enough the importance of contacting legislators to voice concerns about the proposed bills.

“Put the pressure on,” he said. “More gun laws do nothing because criminals don’t obey laws. You could make every single gun in the world illegal and criminals aren’t going to follow the rules. They are still going to come and shoot you. That’s why we need our guns, to protect ourselves because criminals are going to still come out and do harm anyway.”

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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