SAINT PAUL, Minn – Senator Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, released the following statement in the wake of the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas over the weekend.
“There is much to digest after a weekend in which America endured two deadly mass shootings that took the lives of too many before their time,” said Sen. Latz. “The rhetoric on social media, in the newspaper, on television, on the radio, and seemingly everywhere else, is condemnation of these hateful acts done by individuals with access to guns. It is true that we can all agree that these deadly attacks must cease. A society where children and adults are unsafe at school, work, the grocery store, a movie theatre, a bar, both private and public places, because individuals who should not have access to guns do in fact have access, is a society that requires change. This is an issue that impacts and demands the attention of every American.”
In a nationwide study from 2009 to 2016, roughly 42% of mass shootings produced documentation that the attacker displayed dangerous warning signs before the shooting.
“Extreme risk protection orders (ERPO) will save lives by allowing law enforcement to step in before warning signs spiral into tragedies,” said Sen. Latz. “Often, law enforcement officers are among those who first see or learn of a person in crisis. If law enforcement finds a person poses a significant danger of bodily harm to self or to other persons by possessing a firearm, and deems that less restrictive alternatives are inadequate or inappropriate to the circumstances, a petition for relief would require that person to yield their guns while the order is in effect.”
A Star Tribune poll in 2018 found that 9 out of 10 Minnesotans support criminal background checks on all private firearm purchases. A similar poll conducted by Everytown for Gun Safety found identical support amongst Minnesotans for red flag and criminal background check bills.
“Our permit to purchase background screening process would allow responsible gun owners to buy firearms after completing a criminal background check,” stated Sen. Latz. “In the 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 hand gun fire, suicides, incidents of trafficking, and mass shootings. Additionally, these measures are immensely popular in Minnesota. Support is broad as well as deep, and crosses political, urban and rural, and gun owners and non-owner lines: 87% of gun owners support background checks. It boggles my mind that the Senate majority continues to stand in the way of these proven measures to mitigate gun violence.”
“It will take both sides, Democrats and Republicans, to come to the table to address this issue to reduce gun violence in our state and in our country. The Senate majority claims that increased mental health funding and school hardening will help. They may. But we cannot fund and harden our way out of this problem. We have documented, proven solutions available that the majority keeps blocking. The Minnesota Legislature has a responsibility during the 2020 session to pass expanded background checks and ERPO. However, if the Minnesota Senate majority continues to stall on evidence-based solutions that work, I believe Minnesota voters in 2020 will make it apparent that inaction is not acceptable.”