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Moms Demand Action Applauds Committee Passage of Background Checks and Red Flag Bills in Minnesota House

February 19, 2020

The Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after the Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee passed two pieces of potentially lifesaving gun safety legislation:

  • HF 8, which would require background checks on all handgun sales in Minnesota
  • HF 9, which would create a Red Flag law in Minnesota

“Minnesotans overwhelmingly support stronger background checks and red flag laws because they are proven to prevent gun violence and save lives,” said Jessica Deweerth, volunteer with the Minnesota Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These common-sense policies would make Minnesota safer for us all.”

On average, Minnesota has 422 gun deaths every year and gun deaths have increased 18 percent in the last decade. New voter research shows that voters in Minnesota support stronger gun safety laws by a 5:1 margin.

Earlier this month, Everytown put state lawmakers on notice by announcing a $250,000 digital campaign to pressure lawmakers to support more gun safety solutions, including background checks and red flag legislation. 

Here’s what to know about background check and red flag legislation:

Background Checks

  • Background checks are the best way to enforce gun possession laws. Background checks stop sales to prohibited people every day. Since 1994, over 3.5 million sales have been blocked to violent criminals and other prohibited people. In 2017 alone, over 170,000 sales were denied—39 percent of them to convicted felons.
  • Most Minnesotans support background checks on all gun sales. In October, Minneapolis Star Tribune polling showed for the second straight year that more than four in five Minnesotans support requiring background checks on all gun sales.

Red Flag Laws

  • Red flag laws are a powerful tool to prevent gun violence, including school shootings, mass shootings, and suicide. Already, red flag laws have been implemented in 17 other states, including nearby Colorado, and the District of Columbia. Enacting a red flag law would allow family members and law enforcement officers to intervene before tragedy strikes by seeking a court order to temporarily remove guns from people exhibiting warning signs that they pose a danger to themselves or others.
  • Red flag laws are a powerful tool to intervene when it comes to suicide. In Minnesota, nearly 80 percent of all gun deaths are from gun suicide – equalling an average of 27 hours between gun suicide deaths. Also, the gun suicide rate in the most rural counties of the state is twice as high than in the most urban areas.

Statistics about gun violence in Minnesota are available here, and information on how Minnesota’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here.

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