A TIME TO CARE IS UPON US. States across our country are enacting gun violence prevention (GVP) laws and more laws are awaiting action. States are realizing that even as Federal action is slow to zero, states have the freedom to act unilaterally. Degree of action depends on who is elected. Overwhelmingly, the Democrat candidates and platforms support GVP legislation.
One example is the state of Virginia. They have passed several gun laws on bi-partisan votes, including limiting handgun purchases to once a month, a universal background check bill allowing local officials to ban gun possession in public buildings, parks and other areas, and the passage of a Red Flag Bill. However, a bill to prohibit certain types of AR-15 weapons was defeated when four moderate Democrats crossed-over to vote with the Republicans. Politics matter. Politics affects actions for the common good.
Another example is the state of Minnesota. Minnesota is half-way home to enacting two laws: Criminal Background Checks and a Red Flag Law. The Democrat majority House passed them last session and they are on the desk of the Republican Senate Majority Leader awaiting a hearing. The governor says he will sign the bills. Politics matter. Politics affects action for the common good.
Protect Minnesota is sponsoring a BROKEN HEARTS DAY on Thursday-27 February, 9:00 to 3:00 PM with a rally at 3:30 in the Rotunda. ENGAGE endorses this event. BHD is a time to visit our legislators and speak up for GVP. PM folks will host lobby-training sessions at Christ Lutheran Church, across the street from the Capitol Building starting at 9:00. Go to: www.protectmn.org for further information and registration. They will make appointments with your legislators.
Depending on the statistical study, Minnesota ranks anywhere from 7th to 12th nationally in gun safety. We can do better. The laws that are awaiting Senate action address the fact that a gun in the home increases the chances of a woman being killed by 5x. The Red Flag Law already passed by the House will give family and law enforcement the right to temporarily remove a weapon from a person who is a danger to themself or others. Criminal background checks covering both licensed and private sales have resulted in a decline of gun homicides by 40% and suicides by 15% in some states. Criminal Background Checks rank #1 of 29 gun related topics by 32 scholars of criminology and public health. Between 2000-2017, homicides increased by 50% in Minnesota. Between 2014-2018 there were 18 mass shootings in Minnesota. More than three people are shot per day in Minnesota. In 2017, 465 Minnesotans lost their lives due to gun violence. Suicides in Minnesota are increasing, especially in the rural areas. 79% of gun deaths in Minnesota are by suicide. Gun suicides increased by 65% between 2000-2017.
Support for these bills is strong! 90% of Minnesotans support mandatory CBC on all gun sales, including 90% of Republicans. There is similar support for Red Flag Laws.
2020 is a critical election year for GVP action. The choices are clear. The U.S. House has introduced GVP bills that sit on the Republican Majority Leader’s desk with no action. Action will happen by turning the Senate blue or electing Republican legislators who will have the courage to vote for GVP bills. Now is the TIME TO CARE by stepping up, speaking up and acting up.
The Apostle Paul writes: “The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, generosity and self-control.” All these fruits are nonviolent. Let’s be Christ’s Fruits!
Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes