After the Parkland school shooting in Florida I’ve been pretty angry about gun violence. I was fed up after the Las Vegas shooting last fall, and yet again nothing happened.
This time feels different.
But it will only be different if we make it different.
After Sandy Hook I remember thinking, “Surely Congress will do something, so I don’t have to get involved.” Boy was I stupid.
Let’s not be stupid.
Why should the second amendment be more sacred than human life? There are some common sense things we can do to restrict gun use and keep people safe. The idea that we can’t touch guns and that somehow more guns will keep people safe is just wrong.
Gun Safety in Minnesota
Today in Minnesota we had an opportunity to move forward with two simple approaches to gun control, background checks and a red flag law that would temporarily remove guns from dangerous people.
The bills were introduced last year, but never had a committee hearing thanks to our Republican-controlled legislature. The DFL was able to force a hearing today, which basically amounted to 15 minutes per bill today.
“We can keep more guns out of the hands of dangerous people and also uphold the rights of those Minnesotans. We can do both. We must do both.” -DFL Rep. Dave Pinto
In the end, the GOP-controlled committee voted to table the bills indefinitely, killing them without even voting to move them on to the legislature for debate and a full vote.
Maybe this time isn’t any different.
Unless we change things.
Minnesota Politicians on Gun Safety
So let’s look at where those GOP representatives are from and their chances in the upcoming November 2018 elections.
10 Republicans on the committee voted against gun safety (one, Keith Franke, voted for one bill and against the other).
Here are those 10 incumbents who voted against gun safety, and the challengers looking to unseat them in November:
- Incumbent: Matt Grossell (R)
- Challenger: Michael Northbird (D)
- Challenger: Soren Sorensen (D)
- Incumbent: Jeff Howe (R)
- Challenger: Jim Read (D)
- Incumbent: Jim Newberger (R) (not running for reelection; running for U.S. Senate)
- Challenger: ?
- Incumbent: Marion O’Neill (R)
- Challenger: ?
- Incumbent: Nick Zerwas (R)
- Challenger: Sarah Hamlin (D)
- Incumbent: Eric Lucero (R)
- Challenger: Margaret Fernandez (D)
- Incumbent: Brian Johnson (R)
- Challenger: ?
- Incumbent: Mark Uglem (R) (unclear if he’s running for reelection)
- Challenger: Zack Stephenson (D)
- Incumbent: Keith Franke (R)
- Challenger: Anne Claflin (D)
If you’re keeping track, that’s seven races with DFL challengers. Check out those people. Support them. Help them win.
And that’s three races with no DFL challenger (that I’m aware of).
Don’t accept this refusal to keep people safe. Support and vote for candidates who will support common sense gun safety.
(Disclaimer: Research the candidates and make up your own mind. Challengers listed are simply DFL candidates, I have not researched their positions. In some cases, it’s not even clear if or how seriously they’re running—e.g., 2A: I can’t find info on Northbird but was told he’s running, and Sorensen has filed to run but has no info.)