From: Anne Morse
On Sunday, August 4, we awoke to learn of another massacre of fellow Americans, perpetrated once more by a young man who believed it was just fine to inflict his personal pain onto others. This angry young man, like the others before him, had easy access to powerful weapons of war, and was thrilled to turn them on his neighbors. We have got to stop this insanity. We must work together to change our laws, because I know we all can agree that we don’t like what our country has become — a literal war zone. So, how do we come together to make our community safer?
The answer, in a democracy, is to petition our government to make the change we need. And citizens in the Winona area have done that. For more than a year people worked together to advocate for two gun-violence prevention measures that have been proven to save lives. They include universal background checks — which nearly 80 percent of gun purchasers already do — and a red-flag law.
Winona residents also met with their two local legislators — State Senator Jeremy Miller and Representative Gene Pelowski — to gain their support for these two bills. Thankfully, Representative Pelowski supported both bills when they came up for a vote this year in the House. Senator Miller’s response, in contrast, was deeply disappointing. He refused to support these reasonable, common-sense bills. The bills died in the Minnesota Senate, with State Senator Miller and his fellow Republican leaders, who control the Minnesota Senate, refusing even to allow hearings on the bills. The status quo appears to be strangely acceptable to them.
If Senator Miller thinks a criminal background check is too onerous a step for someone wanting to buy a semi-automatic rifle, we think he is out of step with his constituents. It is the primary job of elected officials to ensure the health and well being of their citizens, and that means making gun-violence prevention a top priority, now. There is one more legislative session before the 2020 elections, and we will be watching the Senate leaders closely, to see if they continue to block these common-sense changes in our laws.
We have reached a tipping point in the national discussion on gun violence. The status quo will no longer do. Let’s work together to bring about much-needed change!