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Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Applaud Introduction of Background Checks and Extreme Risk Bills in Minnesota House and Senate

February 25, 2021

The Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement on the introduction of a bill to strengthen background checks on gun sales, and a bill to create an extreme risk law in Minnesota.

  • HF 694 / SF 894, would strengthen background checks on gun sales in Minnesota, helping to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories
  • HF 1654 / SF 1431, would create an extreme risk law in Minnesota, a powerful tool to prevent mass shootings, gun suicide, and gun violence on school grounds

“Minnesotans have been urging our lawmakers to pass common-sense gun safety measures for years. The shooting in Buffalo this month and the record-breaking gun violence we’ve experienced this last year are tragic examples of why we continue to push for an extreme risk law and common-sense gun safety in Minnesota,” said Sarah Mikesell, a volunteer with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These are common-sense bills — supported by the vast majority of Minnesotans — that can save lives. We thank our lawmakers for introducing these bills again this year and urge swift passage in both the House and Senate.”

Gun violence prevention is more important than ever this year as the pandemic continues to exacerbate gun violence following a year of increased gun sales, continued police violence, increased risk of suicide and domestic violence, and an increase in city gun violence. Earlier this month there was a shooting at a Minnesota health clinic that killed one and wounded four others. An extreme risk law could have allowed law enforcement officers to prevent the shooter, who had a history of making violent threats, from accessing firearms and carrying out the shooting.   

On average, 442 people die and 680 people are wounded by guns in Minnesota every year, and gun deaths have increased 20 percent in the last decade. Gun violence costs Minnesota $2.9 billion each year, of which $83.3 million is paid by taxpayers. Polling shows that voters in Minnesota support stronger gun safety laws by a 5:1 margin. 

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

Extreme Risk Laws

  • Extreme risk laws — also known as red flag laws — are a powerful tool to prevent gun violence, including school shootings, mass shootings, and suicide. Already, extreme risk laws have been implemented in 19 other states and Washington, D.C. Enacting an extreme risk 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.
  • Extreme risk laws can prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns. In Minnesota, 77 percent of all gun deaths are from gun suicide – equalling an average of 26 hours between gun suicide deaths. Also, the gun suicide rate in the most rural counties of the state is more than two times higher than in the most urban areas. 

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. Polling throughout 2020, showed that Minnesotans support stronger gun safety laws by a 5:1 margin and the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans support background checks.

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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