Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety will advocate for stronger laws while pushing for gun safety
April 18, 2019 — Today, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords, was in Minneapolis to launch Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety. This new coalition of hunters, sport shooters, and collectors are coming together to advocate for commonsense gun violence prevention laws and promote safe and responsible gun ownership. At a roundtable meeting announcing the effort, members of the new coalition shared personal stories and discussed why they believe it’s possible to support the Second Amendment while also supporting stronger gun laws that will make our country safer.
“Change doesn’t happen until people stand up and demand it,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. “The Minnesota gun owners I met today inspire me. They turned their frustration at divisive dialogue into a new focus that amplifies agreements among the vast majority of Minnesotans. Today they shared powerful stories and showed a determination to start conversations instead of stopping them. The timing couldn’t be more critical. In Minnesota and across the country, gun violence has become a part of our daily reality. That is unacceptable. But I have hope. I have hope because of individuals like these who are finding the courage to speak out for change. We look forward to working with this group to enact meaningful change that can make Minnesota safer.”
The Minnesota gun owners involved in this group are taking action because they are concerned about America’s gun violence crisis. Earlier this year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2017 the number of people dying from gun violence rose for the third year in a row, reaching the highest level in nearly 40 years. 39,773 Americans died in 2017 from gun violence, meaning that nearly 109 people were killed by firearms each day.
“At a young age I learned from my father about “making the range safe,” said Matt Pierce of Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety. “I was taught about responsible gun ownership, it’s a lesson that’s been lost in the conversation about gun violence. We don’t ask if gun owners are safe and that’s made it easier for loopholes in our gun laws to flourish. Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety want this to change so we support background checks on all gun sales. We also support Extreme Risk Protection Orders that will allow police to petition the court for temporary removal of guns from those that the courts agree are ‘not safe.’ We are going to be fighting for the majority of Minnesotans who want to get this done.”
During the meeting this morning, members of Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety discussed their mission, priorities, and the policies they will advocate to pass at the state and federal level. Many gun owners support commonsense gun safety laws, such as background checks for every gun sale. Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety will be a platform to bring these voices together and allow them to be heard.
“In light of the misuse of guns, an extreme few will say that this is the price we pay for having the 2nd amendment,” said Bob Mokos of Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety. “I, for one, am tired of our children’s lives being the price we pay for that interpretation. We do not have freedom because we have the 2nd Amendment – we have the 2nd Amendment because we have freedom. Now we need to be responsible and put the “well regulated” back into our gun laws.”
The mission of the new group is to support gun violence prevention laws while respecting the Second Amendment and promoting gun safety. They have three goals: reduce gun violence in Minnesota, shift the culture, and promote responsible gun ownership.
At the state capitol, Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety will be pushing two major initiatives. The first is a law to establish extreme risk protection orders, a measure that empowers law enforcement to prevent tragedies by temporarily removing guns from individuals at an elevated risk of endangering themselves or others. The second would require a background checks on every gun sale or transfer to keep guns out of the hands of illegal buyers and gun traffickers, dramatically increasing the likelihood of gun murders and suicides. Both measures have been approved by committees in the Minnesota State House of Representatives. The Senate has yet to act.
In recent years, Minnesota has been hit hard by the gun violence epidemic:
- Minnesota faces 389 gun-related deaths per year, for an average of more than one death per day
- 533 Minnesotans per year are injured in non-fatal shootings
- Gun violence costs Minnesota $764 million per year—and that figure only includes the directly measurable losses associated with healthcare, law enforcement, employer costs, and lost employee income.