Last evening, ISAIAH sponsored a public forum with Rep. Tom Emmer at our church, Our Saviors LC. The only problem was he didn’t show up. He had been invited nearly two month previously. He had been emailed and called continuously for scheduling. No response from his office. Yet, nearly 200 people gathered anyway to hear presentations by concerned citizens on health care, immigration and creation. Well done. Two of our pastors spoke passionately of the Biblical call to justice.

I had prepared a speech and questions just in case the opportunity presented itself. I would have said:

Thank you for meeting with us and listening to our concerns. I am concerned about gun violence prevention. Each year in the US, 33,000 people die of gun violence. The gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than that in other high income countries. In Minnesota, 450 people died of gun violence last year with over 80% being suicides, and of those 90% being by White people. Women in the USA are 11 to 16 times more likely to be killed by guns than in other high income countries.

48% more police officers are killed by handguns in states that do not have universal background checks. In states that require background checks there are 48% fewer suicides by gun, 46% fewer women shot to death by domestic partners, 48% less gun trafficking and 52% fewer mass shootings.

Consider that 90% of gun owners, 85% of NRA households and 74% of NRA members support universal background checks.

My questions are: What are you going to do about gun violence prevention? What is your position on universal background checks?

Rev. Ron Letnes