HIBBING, Minn. — DFL members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today traveled to Hibbing to hear six firearm-related bills. Judiciary Committee members in attendance included minority lead Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, and Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis.
“We have a common interest across the state, regardless of where we are from, to find ways to reduce gun violence,” said Sen. Latz. “This isn’t a metro versus rural issue. All communities across the state are affected by gun violence and we must work together to pass laws that keep all Minnesotans safe.”
Senate Republicans scheduled a hearing in Hibbing after numerous requests from Sen. Latz and DFL legislators to hold public hearings on gun violence prevention. The agenda included bills to weaken existing gun laws and two bills authored by Sen. Latz to help keep firearms out of the hands of people who are proven dangerous to themselves or others.
“We know Minnesotans across the state and from both the DFL and Republican parties are asking for tools to help their loved ones stay safe in dangerous situations,” added Sen. Dziedzic. “Today we heard from law enforcement and members of the public on the importance of these bills for the safety of Minnesotans. We know there is broad public support for preventing gun violence and these two bills will help prevent deaths by gun violence and suicide across the state.”
One person dies by suicide every 11 hours in Minnesota, and firearms are the leading method of death by suicide. Death by suicide rates have increased across Minnesota but are significantly higher outside of the seven-county metro area. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention includes access to firearms as a risk factor and contributor to death by suicide.
The House companions to both Latz bills were heard last session in several House committees. They each received public testimony and debate from House members. Neither bill has had a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.