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 of Representatives passed two pieces of life-saving 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
“We worked hard to elect a gun sense majority in the House — and once again, House lawmakers are standing up for gun safety,” said Stephen Venable, a volunteer leader with Minnesota Moms Demand Action and gun violence survivor whose father, Billy Venable, and brother, Bill Venable, were killed in a random home invasion on January 13, 2004. “These are reasonable measures supported by the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans. Now it’s time for the Senate to step up.”
The bills also have the support of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association,which represents 300 active police chiefs and another 150 commands staff at agencies across the state, and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association.
In a letter to the Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday, Executive Director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association wrote:
“Routine background checks are critical public safety measures to limit access to weapons by dangerous people and ensure that lawful gun owners have access to weapons of their choice without undue inconvenience…. The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association also believes law enforcement needs greater discretion to temporarily remove weapons from individuals who are a clear danger to themselves and others.”
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.
In 2018, Minnesotans flipped the Minnesota House of Representatives to a gun sense majority and elected Governor Tim Walz (D), who campaigned strongly on the issue of gun safety. The Minnesota House then passed background check legislation and a strong red flag bill during the 2019 legislative session, but the Republican-controlled state Senate refused to hold a vote or even a public hearing on the bills.
Recently, 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 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 enacted in 18 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.