I’m heartbroken by the tragic losses of life in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas this past weekend. These are two more events in a string of too many occurrences of gun violence that’s wrapping our communities across the country in anxiety and fear. It shouldn’t have to be this way.
While it’s important to honor the victims, it’s also important for us as policymakers to step up and act to end the epidemic of senseless gun violence. During the recent legislative session, the Minnesota House passed two strong measures which would reduce the access to guns for those who shouldn’t have them. The first would expand criminal background checks on gun sales. This is a common-sense measure supported by upwards of 90 percent of Minnesotans of all political and ideological backgrounds. The second would provide for “red-flag” laws to allow – if a court rules – to temporarily restrict someone’s access to firearms if they may pose a danger to themselves or others. This provides an effective tool to potentially prevent gun-related suicides or the shootings we’ve seen in Dayton, El Paso, and elsewhere.
Unfortunately, while we made historic progress in the House on these issues, the Senate – controlled by Republicans – stood with the NRA to block these lifesaving initiatives. In fact, they refused to even hold a single committee hearing on these proposals. Minnesotans deserve to be safe in their communities, and the status quo clearly isn’t working. It’s time for elected officials at all levels to end the cycle of inaction and address senseless violence in our communities.