What can be done to prevent mass shootings?
There have been more than 1,600 mass shootings since Sandy Hook in 2012. We asked Minnesotans what they think should be done to address this violence. Here's what they said.
Share your thoughts in a comment below or fill out this survey here: http://pinsight.org/q/en/67e7a2a72c95
"Re-institute the ban on sale of assault rifles to the general public. Assault rifles are designed to kill. Hunters don't need them unless they hunt people. Virtually all of the horrific slaughter has been accomplished via the use of AR15 assault rifles. No one needs to own this killing machine. A place to start discussion." — Marian Severt, Brainerd"No citizen needs an assault weapon. That is a beginning -- ban them." — Virginia Martin, St. Paul"It is very scary, we are failing our children. What can we do? Mental Illness and guns must be prevented with better controls and checking. Second, we need security at schools. No one likes metal detectors, but it saves lives. Schools need plans about what to do if a shooter enters or has hostages. Just like fire drills, terrorist drills should be standard. Since 9/11, have we made schools safer or ignored the problems until another shooting of innocent children." — Susan Yager, Plymouth"Absolutely no assault weapons to the public. Extreme vetting for gun buyers for hunting only (unless law enforcement). No guns for unstable individuals, mental illness, domestic violence, etc. Build schools like fortresses (look to private Jewish schools for solutions)." — Susan Moore, St. Paul"Reasonable gun controls, careful studies of causes of mass shootings." — Fred Green, Minneapolis"Reduce the amount of violence in movies, TV shows (including streamed and cable TV series) ... and in video games. The modeling of violence as "normal" and "good" and "entertaining" in the entertainment media makes it easier for people to think it's a "normal" and a "reasonable" and a "pleasurable" thing to engage in. Gun control would be fine, but it's likely unattainable because of the "sacramental" character of gun ownership and shooting rights. Many gun owners may think an occasional outburst of murders may be an unavoidable price for their own freedom to protect themselves." — Paul Farseth, Grant"Universal background checks on ALL gun sales, keep guns out of the hands of those with dangerous histories." — Donna Miller, Rochester"...Some of the things we are working on in Minnesota include 1. Legislation to require criminal background checks on all guns sales (closing the gun show loophole) 2. Gun Violence Protection Orders that allow family members and law enforcement to remove guns from the homes of those in a mental health crisis 3. Education for parents about how to keep kids safe from guns 4. Education for adults about how to keep our gun laws strong and safe in Minnesota. 5. Real conversations about how safe gun laws will reduce the leading cause of gun death in Minnesota, which is gun suicide in greater Minnesota.For the past 5 years I have been an active volunteer in the Minnesota Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America. I am a gun violence survivor and a mom. I believe that not only are there things we can do to prevent gun violence, we must act in order to create a better world for our children!" — Marit Brock, St. Paul"I have written to Congressman Keith Ellison with the following suggestion: stricter gun control laws are going to do nothing about the guns that are already out there in the hands of civilians, whether or not they should be. It's too late, like horses that have gotten out of the corral, they're not coming back. Ammunition, on the other hand, is consumable, and continuously needs to be re-supplied. My suggestion to Congressman Ellison is to forget about any new laws regulating the sale of guns; but instead, focus on ammunition, the way we do with certain over-the-counter medications such as Sudafed. I have always been amazed that I have to show ID for a box of 12 Sudafed tablets, but I could go down to Fleet Farm and buy a thousand rounds of high-caliber ammunition, and pay cash, no questions asked. Strict control over the sale of ammunition needs to happen immediately (without the ammo, the gun is pretty much useless). In addition, consider legislation that would hold manufacturers of ammunition civilly liable for when their bullets cause death or serious injury." — Mark Countryman, Minneapolis"Commonsense gun laws like a federal mandatory background check, limiting high capacity weapons and restricting guns from the mentally ill, children and domestic abusers. Remove the protection the gun industry has from litigation. And meaningful mental healthcare reform." — Kiersten Schroeder, Plymouth"The definition of "mass shooting" has been adapted over the years to fit a particular agenda. What we are really talking about right now are mass murderers. In recent past, the mass murders that were associated with the use of firearms were typically described as multiple victims that did not know the murderer well, and there was a relatively weak motive for the attacks. Now the definition has been changed to increase the count of "mass shootings" but the motive and nature of the attacks is obfuscated, largely to blame the objects used in them. To answer your question directly, as a society we have a violence problem. We should focus on mental health services, socio-economic problems and disparities, and seriously try to address a significant portion of American culture that believes physical violence is an appropriate response to unwanted conditions or stimuli." — Erik Shetney, Minneapolis
"There are many things we can do. We need to start by gun safety legislation.This is a serious public safey crisis. If this was measles Americans would be up in arms. It is time to do universal background checks for All gun sales, defeat stand your ground. It is the job of Congress to keep Americans safe. Ban assault weapons, and possibly bullet purchases. It is time to pass common sense gun safety legislation or get a different job! Silence NO More!" — Dawn Tuveson, St. Paul
"As a retired educator, I am way beyond discouraged by this endless string of school shootings, along with the predictable and short-lived tut-tutting afterwards that passes for public dialogue these days. The subject line asks how we can prevent mass shootings. We can't, as long as unrestricted gun rights trump children's rights to safe schools, and as long as corporations' rights to buy legislators trump the public's right to fair elections. (Puns intended.) We can reduce the risk (if by that, you mean reducing the body count) by doing what we are doing, with schools giving up big chunks of educational time to train and drill students and staff in best practices for surviving an attack." — Scott Lowery, Rollingstone"Require background checks and prevent the sale of military style weapons along with banning the sale and manufacturing of any device that converts semi automatic weapons into full automatic and eliminating high round magazines. There is a reason why hunters have a limit to the number of shells their weapon can hold." — Michael Fratto, St. Paul"As long as we continue to provide guns to everyone who wants to kill people, there will be mass murder, along with individual murder and all the other violent crimes for which guns were designed. Those in power all seem to think that ownership of these weapons is a constitutional right. To even try to prevent these horrors is futile. They will never end." — CJ Smith, Fridley"The data all suggests that this country is an anomaly. Every comparable western country has mentally ill people, video games, bad parents, etc. The difference is our gun culture and access to weapons of war. Ban AR-15 type weapons and buy back what we can. (Like Australia,) We'll never get them all, but if we could reduce mass shootings or reduce the number of victims by any percentage that would be a start." Rochelle Eastman, Savage"Extend Homeland Security mission to have metal detectors for one entrance only to a school and door locks person in a bullet proof hallway if metal detected and armed guard back up of former police or military who pass a background check stationed at every entrance. No sales of weapons to anyone under 21 years old." — Terry Branham, Lakeville"Schools need to beef up security. We have metal detectors in courthouses and government buildings, but not in schools. The fact puts out country's priorities in perspective. The so called "gun free zones", you know, the places where guns are used to kill people, should be abolished Teachers/staff should be allowed (not forced, as some like to allege) to carry a weapon. Licensed concealed carry holders have the lowest crime rate of any demographic group. Instead of a teacher acting a a shield and dying as did the brave coach in Florida, the teacher could fight back. Guns will never be banned, even if they are made illegal, there will still be guns. The pour across the border with drug cartels. The best we can do is protect ourselves and our loved ones. We need to be reasonable about this and not use this tragedy as an excuse for an agenda." — Brad Leeser, Moorhead"We could ban all guns, but that would be a band-aid for a much more serious disease. We need better families. We need parents who stay together, support each other to be the best role models for their children. Children need a committed mom and dad. That will give children the best chance of success in life. There are outliers that beat the odds, but we need a change that will best overcome those odds. That change is less divorce and teen pregnancy. Families staying together will change our whole culture and economy for the better." — Jon Visser, Lakeville"1. Background checks for any purchase.
2. No bump stocks or military type weapons sold to any person except the military.
3. Education of families and friends about mental health issues and guns
4. Total disclosure of campaign financing by the NRA." — Diane Norland, Mankato"Honestly, I fully believe gun control legislation and improved access to mental health services are important, but the underlying problem is that virtually all mass shooters in the U.S. are male (and most are white males). The question we need to ask is why so many boys and men in this country decide to commit acts of extreme violence. The United States as a culture needs to take a serious look at the way we raise boys. The emotions and qualities we reward in boys and men are strength, aggression, anger, dominance. The emotions and qualities we teach them to repress are weakness, sadness, hurt, affection, and much more." — Stephanie Kaczynski, St. Paul"Reconsider what 'school' is, and the way it operates. The schools involved are -- Columbine, and now Parkland in Florida -- are 3,000-student schools. In schools that large individuals are likely to get lost. Yet nobody, when shootings occur, thinks to ask: Is 'school' right? Everybody thinks: guns!" — Ted Kolderie, St. Paul"First, close loopholes for gun purchases and require that all guns are registered. Second, require training and testing just like we do for drivers licenses. Third, get the extreme NRA out of policy making." — Nicole Schossow, Hastings"1. The media should neither name nor talk about the shooter(s). It is a negative form of recognition and glorification that these troubled people hope for even if it's after their deaths. 2. Permits required for semi-automatic weapons to make it harder to collect them ... with money going to the victims' families of mass shootings. When you purchase that permit, you are aware that the type of weapon you are buying has been used to kill children." — Christine Hierlmaier Nelson, Foreston
"Ban the sale and ownership of weapons of war, like AR's and other assault weapons. Ban the sale of accessories that make a regular weapon an assault weapon ie; bump stocks, high capacity magazines. Limit the amount of ammunition and magazines a single customer can purchase and track it. BAN ALL ONLINE sales of guns, ammo and accessories...period, full stop.Mandatory background checks on any and ALL gun sales public or private. Eliminate gun show loop hole. Finally utilize existing national data bases but create a flag system for those who have been deemed mentally unstable, and requiring practitioners to alert law enforcement in the same way they are required to if a patient is a risk to themselves or others. Their private medical information would remain protected but if they were attempted to purchase a gun or accessories the system would simply alert the store owner that the individual is "ineligible" for gun ownership. These are very easy, common sense things that could be ordered with the stroke of a pen." — Melissa Thompson, Coon Rapids"A constitutional amendment that unequivocally narrows the "right to keep and bear arms" text of the 2nd Amendment and emphasizes "well-regulated." — Shelby Flint, St. Paul"Outlaw all automatic weapons except for police and the military for anyone and anyone processing them selling them or making them for the general public should face a mandatory Felony of 20 years also a mandatory background check on any gun MMPI and psychiatrist." — Jerald Haley, Stillwater"Restrict the sale and use of military weapons, like AR-15, to large game control — polar or grizzly bears or limit to national guard on military duty. Also, increase background checks on all sales, including gun show sales." — Richard Patten, Minneapolis"Ban gun sales at gun shows. Improve background checks. Ban killing guns like the AR-15. Institute suit against NRA management for fostering dangerous gun culture. Ultimately do as Australia has done, have govt buy all guns and store them so shooters can check them out for hunting and target shooting and then check back in at the end of the hunting trip. Increase punishments for any gun owner who is found to leave guns unsecured in homes with teenage males." — Carl Brookins, Roseville"As a first step, get rid of the AR-15!!!" — June Breneman, Cloquet"Ban assault weapons. Take the gun lobby out of politics. No other civilized country, or uncivilized, is like this. Why is the GOP so damn set on their ability to mass killings?!" — Julie Strahan, Roseville"It is past time to outlaw and remove automatic weapons from sale and ownership. Any such weapons found should be confiscated and destroyed. We should have a grace period of six months from the passage of the law for lawful turn in and redemption of such weapons. After that, it should be illegal to have one in your possession." — Jan Fisher, Pine Island"It is obvious that access to guns leads to dramatically more firearm deaths in the United States than any other developed nation in the world. Common sense regulations is the most significant step that we can take — just look at Australia. If we can regulate who has access to guns, the types of ammunition available, we will go a very long way to minimizing the problem. We also need health care for all, with robust mental health care services. And we need the media not to focus on the shooters." — Erin Sindberg Porter, St. Paul"1. Ban assault weapons
2. Create a real mental health system
3. Much more stringent back ground checks and cannot buy until age 21
4. Magazines no more than 5 shots
5. Increase cost of bullets
6. But back program to take assault rifles out of public’s hands, be very generous." — Bill McKechnie, Maple Grove"I am struck after today's mass murder in a another school, this one in Florida, by the primary focus on mental illness. This is right out of the NRA playbook. This 19 year old bought an assault rifle suitable only for mass killing. These weapons should not be in the hands of citizens who are not in the military in war. It is a weapon of terror." Catherine Ashton, Rochester"We need to hold people responsible who are a part of this epidemic. That means those who manufacture AR15 s and other weapons used for mass murders. We need to also work on who can get guns. I would prefer that we outlaw the manufacture of those guns as they serve no purpose except to murder lots of people." — Connie Skillingstad, Isanti"First, I would like question to be about preventing gun violence vs mass shootings as mass shootings misses the majority of gun violence episodes. That bring said here are some ideas:
Centralized gun purchase record
Ammo purchase limit
3 day waiting period
Ban on gun purchase for all violent criminals, stalkers,
Universal background checks for all gun and ammo purchases
Universal gun licensing requirements with expanded gun safety education and requirements under that education." — Jamie Lyn Reinschmidt, Roseville"Mass shooters can become arsonists or bombers. The problem is in the mind of a human who has come to hate his or her fellow man. People need to be taught something from Confucius: Never do to others what you don't want done to yourself. This needs to happen from an early age so people learn to respect one another and find the good." — Tom Hauwiller, Oakdale"There's nothing we can do. The game has already been lost. Guns have become such an emotional issue where people have said they'd die before giving up their guns. Banning assault style guns will be unenforceable, since they will never give them up. Banning purchases of guns will create a lucrative, yet very well stocked black market. If we try to confiscate the guns we'll encounter very emotionally charged people, who have very large guns. There is no winning strategy." — Carlin Struckman, Edina"Since I doubt we can talk sense into the NRA, maybe we'll have to use metal detectors in schools. The 1st thing I wish we'd try is to regulate semi-automatic weapons. And that ammunition." — Leslie Jones, Stillwater"I have my own desires, but I think the focus needs to be in an area where **maybe** there could be enough compromise for Congress to do something. I would make high-capacity magazines illegal. No long-gun could have a magazine capable of holding 6 or 7 shells. No handgun could be equipped with a magazine that was not considered standard in the original design, but no more than 9 shells for newly-developed handguns. Possession of an illegal magazine would result in the loss of gun ownership and use rights for 5 years." — Lee Cornell, Mankato"Beyond banning all but single-shot firearms, probably nothing. In reality, any discussion that limits the current and collective understanding of the Second Amendment is a pointless activity. To those who, for whatever reason, feel that the Second Amendment means that our country must remain awash in weaponry, argument, facts and slaughter of innocent children means nothing. What might make a difference is weapon registration and competency licensing, not unlike that required for motor vehicles and their drivers. Anyone who possesses a firearm must demonstrate that he/she has passed a training course that stresses firearm operation and safety. The weapons themselves must pass a physical inspection to insure that they are in good repair and safe to use and then be registered along with having a ballistic imprint taken." — Eardley Ham, Woodbury
"The NRA influence on congressional representatives and state legislators needs to be spread via media widely." — Cathy Harrison, Circle Pines
If a gun is used in a crime or an accidental shooting of another person, let's hold the owner criminally and civilly responsible. This shouldn't be a problem for "responsible" gun owners. If your toddler finds your loaded gun and shoots their sibling, enjoy a nice long stay in prison. If your teenager takes your gun to school, they can send a picture of their graduation to you in prison. If you loan your gun to a friend for hunting, and your friend misses the deer and hits a person, you and your friend can get adjoining cells. If your gun isn't adequately secured, gets stolen and used in a crime, you will find that keeping your gun in a safe might have been preferable to prison. If you sell your gun to some random facebook friend who isn't legally allowed to own a gun, they go down for illegal possession and you go down with them. And if your elected officials aren't outraged and devastated by all those dead children sacrificed on the altar of gun worship, vote them out.
Hold Congress accountable with passing real legislation in order to keep everyone safe. If not, we need to start voting people into Congress who can do it.