“Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying [God] and holding fast to [God]; for that means life to you and length of days….” (Dt. 30:19b-20a)
God wills life for all people. God does not will us to harm each other. Used unethically, guns harm. People choose to harm themselves and others. People choose and guns kill. What actions can we take to create a safer life-space within a gun-soaked culture? Rev. Nancy Nord Bence, Ex. Dir. of Protect Minnesota, makes focused recommendations as she “feels a rant coming on.”
1. Pass and enforce a substantive federal assault weapon and high capacity magazine ban that includes funding for a buyback program;
2. Pass comprehensive criminal background checks;
3. Pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act;
4. Pass and enforce laws with teeth against interstate gun trafficking;
5. Repeal PLCAA, the provision that immunizes the gun industry alone from nearly all types of litigation;
6. Fully fund gun violence research at the CDC;
7. Fully fund ATF enforcement programs and finally (!) permit the ATF to computerize their records so crime guns can be traced more efficiently.
MINNESOTA STATE LEGISLATURE:
1. Pass the Criminal Background Check Bill which will expand our current Permit-to-Purchase law for handguns and assault rifles to include private sales;
2. Pass the Extreme Risk Protective Order, or “Red Flag” bill, which will enable guns to be temporarily removed from those deemed by the court to be dangerous to themselves or others;
3. Repeal the state statute that prohibits MDH from collecting data for public health research on gun violence;
4. Mandate that lost and stolen guns be reported to law enforcement within 48 hours, and all guns be securely stored to curtail illegal gun trafficking;
5. Mandate full enforcement of all current state gun safety laws, including domestic violence gun surrender orders, gun dealer security provisions, and child access prevention laws;
6. Repeal pre-emption and empower municipalities to ban guns in public places and during protests;
7. Fully fund trauma-informed community-based programs that have proven to work to prevent gun suicide and group gun violence;
8. Fully fund mental health counseling and K-12 mental health curricula in every Minnesota school.
ENGAGE works closely with Protect Minnesota to promote gun violence prevention. I urge you to visit: www.protectmn.org as well as our web site, www.engageelca.org.
In the words of Martin Luther, “He (She) who believes obeys, and he (she) who obeys believes.” Let us believe in and obey God’s will for life.
Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes