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Minnesota Governor Tim Walz Named 2023 State Level Gun Sense Lawmaker of Year at Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund’s Gun Sense University

August 12, 2023

Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year Awarded to Governor Walz for His Leadership on Gun Violence Prevention

NEW YORK — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety named Minnesota Governor Tim Walz as the 2023 State Level Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year for his unwavering leadership on gun safety, as part of this year’s Gun Sense University.

“Governor Walz has been a steadfast gun sense champion for years, and when a path to lifesaving legislation opened up this session, he led the charge to seize it,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The people of Minnesota want common-sense measures to prevent gun violence, and Governor Waltz has delivered exactly that.”

“Governor Walz, backed by our grassroots army of volunteers and the gun sense lawmakers who flipped the Minnesota legislature to a gun sense majority, has listened to gun violence survivors and prioritized gun safety,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “We are proud to stand and work with Governor Walz to make Minnesota a leader on gun safety.”

“Minnesotans are lucky to have a state leader like Governor Walz, who is steadfast in his commitment to combating the gun violence epidemic,” said Susie Kaufman, chapter lead with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We thank Governor Walz for making Minnesota safer.”

Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year is an annual award given at Gun Sense University (GSU) to lawmakers who are setting an example on how to lead on gun safety. Gun Sense University, hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund (“Everytown for Gun Safety”), together with its grassroots volunteer networks Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, is an annual training and membership conference, bringing together volunteers and leaders of the gun violence prevention movement from all 50 states and Washington D.C. This year, Governor Walz is given this award for state level along with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. 

Governor Walz continues to lead on gun safety. In May, Governor Walz signed a critical public safety omnibus bill into law. The bill includes multiple foundational gun safety measures that will close a dangerous gap in Minnesota’s background check law, create an Extreme Risk law to limit firearm access by individuals in crisis, expand access to community violence intervention funding, and create new restrictions on the use of no knock search warrants.

Additionally, the Minnesota Demand A Seat Lawmakers will be awarded the Demand a Seat Lawmaker of the Year Award. The Demand a Seat award was created to celebrate the leadership and courage of individuals who have been on the front lines of advocating for change as Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action volunteers and have channeled their advocacy into action by running for office and becoming champions for life-saving gun safety policies.

Minnesota volunteers-turned-lawmakers are leading in gun safety. Following an election where Minnesota voters made it clear gun violence prevention is a top priority, lawmakers returned to the State Capitol in January with a newfound majority in all three chambers, including six Moms Demand Action volunteers – all women – who won their elections, flipping the state Senate and delivering a gun sense trifecta with gun sense majorities in the state House and Senate, along with a Gun Sense Governor. Lawmakers introduced gun safety the first days of session, which were packaged into an omnibus package and signed into law in May. All bills included were co-authored by at least one former Moms Demand Action volunteer. 

  • State Senators Erin Maye Quade (56, DFL) and Bonnie Westlin (42, DFL), and State Representative Mary Frances Clardy (53A) co-authored an Extreme Risk law, which allows loved ones and law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily restrict access to firearms by those deemed to be at risk of harming themselves and others, and;
  • State Senators Erin Maye Quade (56, DFL), Bonnie Westlin (42, DFL), Lindsay Port (55, DFL), Liz Boldon (25, DFL) and State Representatives Mary Frances Clardy (53A) and Heather Edelson (50A) co-authored legislation to require background checks on all handgun and semi-automatic military-style assault weapon sales.

In an average year, 497 people die and 811 are wounded by guns in Minnesota. An average of 43 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 49% of these deaths are suicides and 45% are homicides. Gun violence in Minnesota costs $1,174 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Minnesota $6.6 billion each year, of which $105.5 million is paid by taxpayers

More information about gun violence in Minnesota is available here.

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