Reducing Gun Violence

I am angry about our State Senate’s lack of action on gun control.

Every time I leave a classroom I’ve just taught in at the University of Minnesota, I see posters instructing me what to do if a hostile intruder enters the building: I have been trained to “Get Out, Hide Out, Keep Out.” I’m angry that our response to gun violence has been to train our students and teachers to hide. They should not have to be the brave ones who are forced to face hostile intruders and deal with the stress and distractions of a potentially-unsafe learning environment. Instead, it is the gun manufacturers, violent gun users, and the NRA who must change to fit our desire for a peaceful and safe society.

I first ran for office because I wanted to do something to address gun violence after the back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton in August 2019. Nothing has changed since then, and that’s been the norm for several decades now. Many mass shootings barely make the front page of the newspapers.

Early in the 2020 legislative session, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed two gun violence prevention bills – universal background checks and a “red flag” bill, both of which Democrats and gun control advocates have spent years pushing for – and sent them to the Senate. Universal background check laws will expand criminal background checks to cover nearly all firearms sales, closing the “private sale exemption” that allows online sales and sales at gun shows to proceed without these checks. “Red flag” legislation will allow police departments and family members to petition the courts for the temporary removal of firearms from the possession of people deemed a threat to themselves or others.

The exact same scenario occurred in the state legislature in 2019, and both bills went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate. This year, Republican leaders in the Senate have again stated their refusal to pass either bill. This pattern can’t continue. As your Senator, I will continue to work to pass these two laws at a minimum, to ensure greater safety for our students and for everyone in Minnesota.

At the same time, I come from a hunting family, and I understand the needs of hunters. I’m not interested in taking guns away from responsible and law-abiding individuals.

Prepared and paid for by Campaign of Ann Johnson Stewart, PO Box 46505, Plymouth, MN 55446