From Newtown to Aurora to San Bernadino, families across the US are being affected by the horror of gun violence. Nearly half a million Americans were killed from 2001-2013 by guns. Guns now cause more deaths than car crashes in 14 states. With congressional action stymied by conservatives who are in the pocket of the NRA and gun manufacturers, it is up to states to take action to reduce gun violence.
After announcing she will not seek re-election this fall, Representative Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) introduced legislation aimed at curbing gun violence here in Minnesota. Her bill would require universal background checks on gun sales (a proposal supported by 88% of Americans), extend waiting periods on handguns and military-style assault rifle purchases, and require gun owners to complete firearms safety training before purchasing a gun.
Despite the popularity of these measures, the gun lobby has already mobilized in opposition, and State Republicans have promised that Rep. Norton’s legislation will “fall with a heavy thud.” We know that these common sense measures won’t confiscate guns from law-abiding gun owners or begin an Orwellian crackdown on the 2nd Amendment. But that’s just the kind of rhetoric we’re bound to hear from conservatives who refuse to stand up to the well-funded gun lobby.
While her legislation is bound to face an uphill battle from House Republicans, Rep. Norton should be applauded for taking the lead on common sense measures to reduce gun violence in Minnesota.