We all want to ensure that our community is safe. Last year, a Star Tribune survey indicated that 94% of Minnesotans believe in universal background checks. Unfortunately, our legislators seem to have forgotten that they represent us – not their party or special interest groups. By enacting common-sense firearm legislation, including thorough and accurate universal background checks, regulating assault weapons, addressing firearm trafficking, and encouraging safe firearm storage, we can begin to prevent further gun violence in Minnesota
However, increasing the safety standard around accessing firearms is not the only element of preventing gun violence. Prevention efforts guided by research on developmental risk can reduce the likelihood that firearms will be introduced into community and family conflicts or criminal activity. Prevention of violence occurs along a continuum that begins in early childhood with programs to help parents raise emotionally healthy children and should continue with efforts to identify and intervene with troubled individuals who are threatening violence. These supports span the infrastructure of our health system, our social services, and our education system, and must be addressed systematically with resources that are affordable and accessible to all Minnesotans.