MN Lawmakers talk gun control in wake of Nashville school shooting tragedy

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(ABC 6 News) – In the wake of the devastating school shooting at an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, many people, including Minnesota lawmakers, are talking about solutions to the gun violence plaguing the country.

While lawmakers agree that this devastation needs to stop, they disagree on what solution will fix the problem.

Tuesday, news of the shooting spread, and moms like Alisha Eiken struggled to grasp three more dead children.

“It’s really hard, it’s emotional, it’s hard to watch your kids walk to the bus. It’s emotional watching them walk to the bus,” said Eiken. “Thoughts and prayers are not enough, we need to all take action together to fix this.”

Eiken is also a member of the group Moms Demand Action, a non-profit with a goal to stop gun violence in the United States.

In 2021, firearms were the leading cause of death for children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Data states that more than 4,7000 young lives were cut short.

“I feel emotional, I feel mad, I feel disgusted, I feel shameful that I am allowing my kids to be raised in this country that seems to do nothing to fix this very fixable problem,” Eiken added.

She joins the many voices pleading with lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws.

Two bills are making their way through the Minnesota Legislature: One that would require universal background checks for private gun transactions, and another, a “red flag” proposal that would make it easier to take guns away from people deemed to be a threat.

Rep. Patricia Mueller (R-Austin) says that mental health is the real problem and that everyone needs to take part in the solution.

“Government can only do so much. We can only write so much legislation, we will never be able to legislate ourselves out of violence,” Rep. Mueller explained to ABC 6 News.

Gun owners, like Keith Shones, say that more laws are not the answer.

“It’s more the people than it is the guns. The guns won’t do nothing by themselves,” Shones said. “Once we start making legislation restrictions for guns, they never stop.”

Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron) has his own idea to stop school shootings: He’s proposing a new bill that would require teachers and school staff to be trained and provided a firearm to prevent tragedies like what happened in Nashville.

“What we can do is train and cooperate and be as prepared as we can, because unfortunately, this stuff happens,” Quam explained.

“The best thing to do is be prepared and that’s having school staff and law enforcement being on the same page, and coordinating, and having a quick response, better securing of the schools.”

This proposal, however, has not been heard by a committee just yet.

Moms like Eiken say regardless of politics, gun violence and children being shot to death have to stop.

“We as a country are choosing to live like this, we don’t need to live like this. Yet, our legislators continue to choose to live like this and it is not okay,” Eiken added.