Senate Republicans held a Judiciary Committee hearing this week focused on what they are calling their public safety and violence prevention package. Ironically, their package will do very little to actually keep Minnesotans safe or prevent gun violence.
The Republican proposals included a number of penalty enhancements and establishments of new violence-related offenses in the state’s criminal code. These bills would be a strong addition to a gun violence prevention package that includes expanded background checks and ERPOs, but as they are they just don’t do enough to protect Minnesotans.
A recent Star Tribune poll shows that 9 out of 10 Minnesotans support expanded background checks. In states that require a background check before every handgun sale there are nearly half as many suicides by gun, women shot to death by their domestic partners, police officers who die by handgun fire, incidents of trafficking, and mass shootings.
Emergency risk protection orders equip law enforcement and family members with necessary tools to step in before warning signs spiral into tragedies.
In a nationwide study from 2009 to 2016, roughly 42% of mass shootings produced documentation that the attacker displayed dangerous warning signs before shooting. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention acknowledges environmental factors, including access to firearms, as a risk factor and contributor to death by suicide.
These bills are simply more political window dressing from Republicans. Senate DFLers know what works because we’ve seen evidence of the decrease in violence in states that have enacted emergency risk protection orders and expanded background checks, but instead of giving those bills a fair hearing, Republicans are kowtowing to their base with bills that won’t actually do anything to prevent gun violence.
Republicans say they are concerned about increasing urban violence, but they’re refusing to even consider any plans to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people. Senate DFLers are committed to a conversation focused on gun violence prevention that works and keeps Minnesotans safe. (SF 434, SF 436)