We know that gun violence is a racial justice issue, and that we lose people of color every day to the consequences of gun violence, whether as victims or as perpetrators whose lives are destroyed by their actions. The proposal for mandatory background checks, which has strong support among Minnesotans, would prevent guns from getting into the hands of people who should not have access to them. A bill being introduced today in the Minnesota House by Rep. Debra Hilstrom would focus on prosecution for gun-related crimes and mandatory sentencing. It takes attention away from prevention and rebuilding safe communities.
Stay tuned for more news and the chance to come together as communities of color to speak out against gun violence.
From our allies at Protect Minnesota, who are working hard to build safer communities:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 6, 2013
NRA Bill Is A Cop-Out That Avoids Confronting Our Gun Violence Problem
St. Paul, MN – In advance of the release of the NRA-approved gun bill today, Protect Minnesota made the following statement:
“It is predictable that an NRA-approved bill removes the most important preventive measure from a very strong omnibus gun violence prevention bill prepared by Rep. Michael Paymar. Any bill that fails to address the gaping holes in our background check law falls far short of the public’s demand for the right to be safe in our own communities,” said Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota: Working to End Gun Violence. “This bill focuses on punishment after the fact. After the shooting, it is too late. The damage is done. We need to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and the only way to do that is to make sure gun buyers pass a background check.”
New polling from the Star Tribune and Mayors Against Illegal Guns shows strong support for background checks before gun purchases through gun shows, garage sales, websites and private purchases. Read the polling showing overwhelming support for background checks in Minnesota’sFirst Congressional District and Third Congressional District.
“A bill that focuses on punishment reflects the worldview of the NRA lobbyists, which we heard repeatedly during the hearings: that all gun deaths are gang-related; and that prevention of gun deaths is impossible. Most Minnesotans don’t buy any of that, and their legislators shouldn’t either,” Martens said. Since the adoption of the Brady Background Check law, nearly 2 million gun purchases have been stopped by background checks.
“It is the job of House leadership to advance legislation that is preventive and that addresses the gaps in our background check law. So far, House leadership is not involved. They need to be,” Martens said.