ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the Everytown Survivor Network, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, joined with gun owners, faith leaders, law enforcement officers, county attorneys, and members of the medical community at a press conference today to applaud the introduction of new gun safety legislation. The bill would require background checks on all gun sales – including online sales and sales at gun shows – closing existing loopholes in Minnesota law that make it easy for felons, domestic abusers, and people suffering from dangerous mental illnesses to get guns. The legislation, introduced by Senator Ron Latz and Representative Dan Schoen, aligns with recent polling indicating that 82 percent of Minnesotans support background checks on all gun sales.
“It’s unconscionable that right now in Minnesota, a domestic abuser, or anyone else who is legally prohibited from buying a firearm, can go online or to a gun show and get a gun with no background check, no questions asked,” said Senator Ron Latz, Senate sponsor of the background checks legislation. “Passing this bill and requiring a criminal background check on every gun sale will reduce the illegal possession of guns in our communities and save lives. In the states that have closed these loopholes, we see fewer women shot and killed by domestic abusers, fewer law enforcement officers shot and killed in the line of duty, and gun suicides nearly cut in half.”
The bill has already garnered support from other influential organizations and community leaders including the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Association of Women Police, Minnesota Public Health Association, Ramsey County Public Health Advisory Task Force, Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Minneapolis Commissioner of Public Health, Ramsey County & Saint Paul Public Health Director, County Attorneys in Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Olmsted, St. Louis & Washington Counties, Minneapolis & St. Paul City Attorneys, and the Minnesota Rabbinical Association, who recently signed a resolution on gun violence prevention (linked here).
“I am honored to be working on legislation that research shows will reduce gun violence and that has support of an overwhelming majority of Minnesotans, including so many of our community leaders,” said Representative Dan Schoen, House sponsor of the background checks legislation. “Too many Minnesotans have experienced the trauma of a loved one killed by gun violence – particularly gun suicides. I look forward to working with our colleagues here in St. Paul on this bill that respects the rights of law abiding gun owners while also working to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and saving lives.”
As part of the effort to mobilize support for criminal background checks on all gun sales, the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action has been organizing events in all corners of the state. In the last two months, the chapter has hosted over 80 events and just last week, more than 200 volunteers and survivors attended Democratic and Republican caucuses in more than 150 precincts all over the state to talk to voters about gun violence prevention and the importance of knowing where candidates stand on the issue.
“Minnesota moms are working hard across the state to mobilize support for background checks on all gun sales because the safety of our families and communities depends on it,” said Marit Brock, volunteer leader of the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and member of the Everytown Survivor Network. “We know that if we don’t speak up and make ourselves heard, the safety of our communities and the lives of our children are at risk. We have the momentum and are determined to make Minnesota safer. That starts with ensuring every gun sale in Minnesota requires a background check.”
Background Checks Work: The Evidence
Since its inception in 1998, the gun background check system has blocked millions of felons and other dangerous people from buying guns.
In the 18 states that have closed the background check loophole by requiring background checks on all gun sales, there are:
- 46 percent fewer women are killed by intimate partners;
- 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns; and
- 48 percent fewer people kill themselves with guns
Missouri repealed its background check law in 2007, and its gun murder rate has increased by 25 percent in the years since, even though rates of murder by other means have remained steady and bordering states haven’t experienced any similar changes.
That means the law’s repeal is associated with an additional 68 firearm homicides in Missouri each year.