The Minnesota chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after Minnesota Governor Tim Walz yesterday announced an executive action to provide additional funding for community violence prevention and improve police transparency and accountability.
“We are grateful that Governor Walz is willing to take action to develop a comprehensive gun violence reduction plan, from funding community violence prevention grants to facilitating more transparency in our policing system,” said Molly Leutz, a volunteer with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action. “While executive action and investment in community gun violence prevention is a vital step in the fight to end gun violence, we know more fundamental change is needed to combat police violence and the root causes of gun violence. The Minnesota legislature must also step up and do their part to answer the demands for transparent and accountable police practices in our state.”
The executive action announced yesterday includes measures to:
- Invest $15 million in American Rescue Plan funding for community violence prevention grants
- Enact policy changes to increase transparency and accountability through the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training
- Direct law enforcement agencies within the state government to develop a policy that will allow families suffering the loss of a loved one in a deadly force encounter with police to view video of the incident within five days
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) authorizes $130 billion in funding for local governments to counter the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing relief to states and local governments, funds can also be used to prevent or address gun violence in cities. Increased gun violence and the need for expanded violence intervention programs can be traced to the impact of the pandemic, and violence intervention professionals are performing essential frontline work to protect the public and interrupt gun violence.
Police violence is a form of gun violence, and it is essential that law enforcement agencies adopt evidence-based policies, including having strong guardrails on when police may use force against civilians, ensuring police are held accountable when force is used, and prioritizing de-escalation, dignity, and respect.
Black Americans are shot and killed by police at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, and data from Mapping Police Violence shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. In an average year, police fatally shoot 11 people in Minnesota.
More information about police violence is available here. Additional information on gun violence in Minnesota is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how Minnesota’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.