Minnesotans react to proposed gun bill
(ABC 6 News) – There’s a new bill in the Minnesota legislature intending to curb gun violence, especially for kids. It would require all guns to be stored and locked away — with ammo stored in a separate space. Currently in Minnesota under statute 609.666 it is illegal to leave a loaded firearm where a child could access it.
“This bill goes well beyond that. Requiring all gun owners. Whether they have children in their household or whether they will ever have children in their household. Requiring them to store their firearms separately from the ammunition. And that’s just a step too far,” said Vice President of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus Rod Doar. He adds that it would make guns less accessible when using a gun for self-defense.
Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson is one of 73 county sheriffs in Minnesota that have spoken out against this bill. He says this law would be hard to enforce.
“There is nothing in the bill that is going to require law enforcement to do a compliance check. So, it would simply be an after the fact thing. Which is basically what the negligent storage law already does,” said Torgerson.
But Kathleen Anderson a volunteer for Moms Demand Action says current legislation doesn’t do enough to keep kids safe.
“Kids are impulsive and they don’t always understand their own mortality when comes to handling a weapon,” said Anderson.
Doar says that’s why education is important. And that’s where both he and Anderson agreed.
“If you teach them that they are not toys. They are devices capable of mass destruction it has a different effect on them,” said Doar.
“You can’t ensure the environment that your child is in all the time so it is important to talk to them about what they should do if they encounter a gun,” said Anderson.
According to Harvard University, children as young as three years old may have the strength to pull a trigger. And in 2019 firearms were used in 42% of youth suicides.
“When we create a barrier even if it’s going through the action of unlocking a gun safe or unlocking a gun so someone who’s experiencing that overwhelming but brief urge to die,” said Anderson. “It prevents them from maybe taking that final act.”