ST. PAUL, Minn – Senators Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, and Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, the three minority members of the Judiciary Committee, released the following statement after Governor Tim Walz called on Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka to hold hearings on gun bills this fall.
“It is an abdication of public leadership to refuse for years to conduct a Minnesota Senate hearing on two demonstrably effective tools to reduce gun violence. In 2019 alone, our nation has seen 251 mass shootings with at least 62 deaths, and far more deaths and injuries from gun violence occurring every day. We second Gov. Walz’s call to hold hearings on gun violence prevention legislation this fall. Waiting until next February is dilatory, and will further delay legislative action on this public health crisis.”
“Since gaining control of setting public hearings in 2017, the Republican-led Senate majority has asked for bipartisan solutions to mitigate gun violence in our state. We have had those bipartisan solutions available for many years, but no hearing. Even after the Star Tribune in April 2018 documented that 90% of Minnesotans support mandatory criminal background checks on all gun sales, including those sold privately and at gun shows, clearly a bipartisan proposal, the majority leader responded with a resounding ‘no.’”
“It’s a cop-out to say that we should only increase mental health funding. Only 4% of gun crimes are committed by the severely mentally ill; usually they become the victims by suicide or other assailants.”
“It’s also a cop-out to simply harden all of our schools. Even if we had the resources to do so, turning every school into a fortress would still not stop individual or mass shootings at entry points there, or in other places in our community or homes, and would be counterproductive to the mission of educating our children while probably creating more mental health issues.”
“Yesterday, the President said ‘yes’ to ERPO. In the past he has said ‘yes’ to background checks. It’s time for Majority Leader Gazelka and Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Limmer to listen to the people of Minnesota and say ‘yes’ to public hearings on these carefully crafted, middle-of-the-road,bipartisan proposals.”