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. We have let our children and students down: 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 address gun violence after the back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton in August 2019. Nothing has changed since then, and in the two years since I first ran for Senate, there have been countless additional shootings. Death by suicide account for the majority of US gun deaths (accounting for 54% of all gun-related deaths in the US). In 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC. That figure includes gun murders and gun suicides, along with three other, less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC: those that were unintentional, those that involved law enforcement, and those whose circumstances could not be determined. The total excludes deaths in which gunshot injuries played a contributing, but not principal, role.

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 same scenario occurred in the state legislature in 2021, and both bills went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate. Senator Warren Limmer (R-34) refused to provide a hearing on 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 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