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Local View: Background checks needed on all gun sales to increase safety

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1510153","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image A. Peterson","height":"120","img-alt":"","img-title":"Joan","width":"120"}}]]January was a deadly month in Minnesota.


January was a deadly month in Minnesota. On Jan. 20, a young St. Paul girl hid guns from her parents during a domestic argument. She likely saved a life or two. There were two incidents of police shooting suicidal or threatening people, one each in Bloomington and St. Paul. More recently, three Minnesotans died from gunshot injuries. On Jan. 24, a 19-year-old boy got into an argument with family members while drinking and said he wanted to kill himself. He took a rifle from his closet and reportedly took it to the Mahtomedi Fire Department where he worked to cut off the trigger lock. He shot and killed a popular Cottage Grove teacher as he stopped at a stop sign while driving home. The boy shouldn’t have had a gun that night. On Jan. 25, a 15-year-old Eagan boy shot and killed his brother unintentionally while playing “cops and robbers.” The gun was owned by his father and left loaded and accessible. Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult. Too many adults are not responsible with their loaded guns. On Jan. 26, a New Hope man shot and injured two newly appointed police officers outside his city’s council chambers. Other officers returned fire and killed the shooter. The shooter was adjudicated mentally ill, making him a prohibited gun purchaser who also was known for violent tendencies. A straw purchase allowed him to get his hands on a gun he couldn’t legally buy without a background check. On Jan. 17, the bodies of a family were found in an Apple Valley home after having been there for almost a month. An aspiring filmmaker seemingly was having problems with his film projects and allegedly shot his wife, their young daughter and himself. This is an all-too-common story happening daily in our country. Often it is unexpected, but when a gun is at the ready, daily problems can turn tragic quickly. Over half of all domestic deaths are due to firearms injuries. Expanding background checks will stop some who have bad intent with a gun from getting one anyway and getting it quickly. In states that have expanded background checks to all gun sales, 46 percent fewer women are shot by their partners, according to Everytown for Gun Safety (everytown.org). This is not a coincidence. Gun owners should store their guns safely locked up and separate from ammunition so that children, teens, vulnerable adults and those who want to steal guns can’t get their hands on them. This is responsible gun safety.  One avoidable death is one too many to the families and friends of the victims.  Gun owners can do a lot to reduce and prevent avoidable gun deaths. On Jan. 26, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, told a rally of gun-rights advocates that he and his party had their backs for the next several years. In light of the recent shootings, our legislators should reject the proposed attempts of the gun lobby to loosen gun laws in Minnesota. Who will have the backs of the mounting pile of victims and survivors over the next few years? Owning a gun is risky and can result in intentional or unintentional deaths and injuries. If you agree we can work together to reduce and prevent gun deaths, you are among a majority of Americans (92 percent of us - yes, gun owners, too - favor reasonable gun laws, according to a recent Pew poll). It’s time for the majority to demand its views are the ones elected leaders consider when making policy. Congress and state legislatures should finish the job and require background checks on all gun sales. It’s also time for gun owners and nongun owners to have an honest discussion about solutions, including gun safety, gun policy and responsibility. We all are responsible for keeping our communities and our families safe from preventable violence. Surely we can do better. Joan A. Peterson of Duluth is co-president of the Northland chapter of the Brady Campaign, president of the board of Protect Minnesota and a member of the Brady Campaign Board of Trustees.
January was a deadly month in Minnesota.On Jan. 20, a young St. Paul girl hid guns from her parents during a domestic argument. She likely saved a life or two. There were two incidents of police shooting suicidal or threatening people, one each in Bloomington and St. Paul.More recently, three Minnesotans died from gunshot injuries.On Jan. 24, a 19-year-old boy got into an argument with family members while drinking and said he wanted to kill himself. He took a rifle from his closet and reportedly took it to the Mahtomedi Fire Department where he worked to cut off the trigger lock. He shot and killed a popular Cottage Grove teacher as he stopped at a stop sign while driving home. The boy shouldn’t have had a gun that night.On Jan. 25, a 15-year-old Eagan boy shot and killed his brother unintentionally while playing “cops and robbers.” The gun was owned by his father and left loaded and accessible. Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult. Too many adults are not responsible with their loaded guns.On Jan. 26, a New Hope man shot and injured two newly appointed police officers outside his city’s council chambers. Other officers returned fire and killed the shooter. The shooter was adjudicated mentally ill, making him a prohibited gun purchaser who also was known for violent tendencies. A straw purchase allowed him to get his hands on a gun he couldn’t legally buy without a background check.On Jan. 17, the bodies of a family were found in an Apple Valley home after having been there for almost a month. An aspiring filmmaker seemingly was having problems with his film projects and allegedly shot his wife, their young daughter and himself. This is an all-too-common story happening daily in our country. Often it is unexpected, but when a gun is at the ready, daily problems can turn tragic quickly. Over half of all domestic deaths are due to firearms injuries.Expanding background checks will stop some who have bad intent with a gun from getting one anyway and getting it quickly. In states that have expanded background checks to all gun sales,46 percent fewer women are shot by their partners, according to Everytown for Gun Safety (everytown.org). This is not a coincidence.Gun owners should store their guns safely locked up and separate from ammunition so that children, teens, vulnerable adults and those who want to steal guns can’t get their hands on them. This is responsible gun safety.  One avoidable death is one too many to the families and friends of the victims.  Gun owners can do a lot to reduce and prevent avoidable gun deaths.On Jan. 26, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, told a rally of gun-rights advocates that he and his party had their backs for the next several years. In light of the recent shootings, our legislators should reject the proposed attempts of the gun lobby to loosen gun laws in Minnesota.Who will have the backs of the mounting pile of victims and survivors over the next few years?Owning a gun is risky and can result in intentional or unintentional deaths and injuries.If you agree we can work together to reduce and prevent gun deaths, you are among a majority of Americans (92 percent of us - yes, gun owners, too - favor reasonable gun laws, according to a recent Pew poll). It’s time for the majority to demand its views are the ones elected leaders consider when making policy. Congress and state legislatures should finish the job and require background checks on all gun sales.It’s also time for gun owners and nongun owners to have an honest discussion about solutions, including gun safety, gun policy and responsibility. We all are responsible for keeping our communities and our families safe from preventable violence.Surely we can do better.Joan A. Peterson of Duluth is co-president of the Northland chapter of the Brady Campaign, president of the board of Protect Minnesota and a member of the Brady Campaign Board of Trustees.

Related Topics: CRIME
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