On March 24, millions of Americans marched in the streets to protest the epidemic of gun violence in our society. More than 800 events took place worldwide, including a massive march in Saint Paul from Harriet Island to the State Capitol. It was the largest mass protest against gun violence in our nation’s history.
A movement is happening in this country. Minnesotans are desperate to have a conversation with their elected officials about gun violence. I want to especially thank the young adults and students who are showing leadership and courage beyond their years as they advocate for their own safety.
It is shameful that Republican legislators refuse to hold any public hearings about this issue. I have a message for my Republican colleagues: Minnesotans deserve to have a civil conversation about gun violence that is not limited by committee deadlines, legislative sessions, election cycles, or political careers. We are all in this together and we all need to be a part of the solution.
To that end, I recently announced a new plan to address gun violence that focuses on three categories: Schools, Research, and Gun Safety.
Improve school security equipment and require districts to establish threat assessment teams.
- Authorize school districts to bond for certain security equipment and modify the safe schools revenue program, allowing for additional funding and usage of program funds for school security enhancements.
- Require school districts to create at least one threat assessment team consisting of experts on counseling, mental health, k-12 instruction, administration, and law enforcement to establish protocols for handling potential threats within a school district.
Collect and study de-identified data about gun ownership the same way we study other public health data, such as obesity or diabetes rates.
- Allow for all data created, collected, received, or maintained by the Minnesota Department of Health on firearm owners to be de-identified for the purposes of public health research or epidemiologic investigation. Information can only be disclosed if the firearm owner is de-identified.
Keep guns out of the hands of criminals and people who may harm themselves.
- Require criminal background checks on all firearm transfers, including private sales.
- Reclassify slide-fire stocks, commonly referred to as ‘bump’ stocks, for a semiautomatic firearm as a trigger activator.
- Authorize gun violence protective orders, which lets law enforcement and family members petition a court to prohibit people from possessing firearms if they pose a significant danger to themselves or others by possessing a firearm.
- Raise the minimum age to possess a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon to 21 years old and expand the statutory definition of a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.
The common-sense ideas in this plan are supported by the vast majority of Minnesotans, including law-abiding gun owners. Please send me your feedback and let me know what you think. You can call my office at 651-296-5537, use the email contact form available at www.senate.mn/senatorisaacson, or mail a letter to my office. My address is Minnesota Senate Bldg., Room 2321, St. Paul, MN 55155.
My goal is to bring people on both sides of this issue together and create a space where all of us can have a civil conversation. As a husband, father to three beautiful children, elected official, and your fellow Minnesotan, I will not stop talking about gun violence until we get the meaningful change that we deserve. Politicians in Washington D.C. and Saint Paul cannot ignore your voice any longer. Let’s turn up the heat.
This column first first published in the Shoreview Press.