June 25, 2020
Minneapolis has experienced more than 100 shootings in the past month, including the mass shooting in Uptown on Sunday that injured 11 people and bullets flying through a North Minneapolis park where kids were practicing football. Gun violence continues to be a public health epidemic: one that too seldom leads to meaningful change that will protect all Minnesotans, including Black and Brown people who are disproportionately impacted by gun violence in our state.
Protect Minnesota has long advocated for legislative action to reduce gun violence. We support expanded background checks and extended risk protection orders, (also known as red flag laws). This year, with your help, these gun violence prevention bills passed the House. We need a more courageous Senate that will advance these bills in 2021 and commit to reducing gun violence in our state. We’re working on that, and you can learn more about candidates who support gun violence prevention here: Orange Star Candidates.
We understand that while these measures are necessary, they are not enough, and do not reduce gun violence equitably across all of our communities. There are additional measures we can take to reduce gun violence throughout all of Minnesota.
Despite clear research that our families and communities are not safer with guns in the home, we know that more guns began flooding into homes as a result COVID-19 and the civil unrest and uprisings in response to the murder of George Floyd.
Protect Minnesota has distributed free trigger locks for many years; we have accelerated our work to equip people with safer gun ownership education, trigger locks, and biometric storage safes that can help prevent unintended shootings in the home, reduce child access to firearms, and deter firearm theft. This expanded effort is centered in North Minneapolis, which is disproportionately impacted by gun violence, including shots fired, non-fatal shootings, and homicide.
Racism is also a public health epidemic. In a gun violence prevention movement that is overwhelmingly white, this moment calls for humility and thoughtful conversation, and we at Protect Minnesota are actively learning what’s needed to respond comprehensively and effectively to this crisis with gun violence prevention measures that are grounded both in public health and in racial justice. We seek to follow the leadership of Black and Brown communities and Minneapolitans about what else we can and should do in response to this crisis of gun violence.
This could include:
- Supporting existing or emerging local violence prevention and intervention programs
- Continuing to advocate to allow the Minnesota Department of Health to study gun violence
- Advocating for reporting requirements for lost or stolen firearms
- Banning high-capacity ammunition magazines
- Deepening relationships and collaboration with A Mother’s Love Initiative, Be The Voice, MN Safe Streets Coalition, and MAD DADS, among others, who are actively working to address gun violence in Minneapolis
We cannot speak about community gun violence without recognizing the impact of police violence and racial bias in policing. This crisis demands bold action, openness to new solutions, and a willingness to work together. Gun violence prevention must center the safety of everyone, and respond explicitly and equitably to the needs and expertise of Black people and people of color as we chart a new path forward. We need a new frame – reducing violence, including violence by gun — is our work. We won’t succeed with one-off approaches that don’t address systemic injustice and the root causes of how we got here. We will continue to push for actions we must take to reduce all gun violence and keep all of us safe.
We know that many others in our community are listening, learning, and responding to the urgency of this moment. Protect Minnesota invites you to join us in the work ahead. We hope you will stay engaged as we fight for responsive, effective, and equitable solutions to prevent gun violence in all of our communities.
We want to hear your ideas and solutions: get in touch with us today!
Protect Minnesota Board
Protect Minnesota Advocacy Fund Board
Protect Minnesota Staff