Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tragic Hand Gun Mass Shooting

Six people were killed on September 27 in a hand gun shooting in a Minneapolis business. Another four people were wounded in a separate shooting on the same day when someone shot into their home.

My thoughts and prayers go out the victims, their families, co-workers and other community members devastated by these terrible crimes.

These are all too common in our country, our state and our City. Each time it reminds me how important it is for us to work harder to prevent future acts of violence and address this epidemic of gun violence head on. I don't understand why it is so hard for us, as a nation, to unite to look at how science, education, regulation and technology can help address this public health crisis. To jump start that effort and secure the funding that it will require we should increase the tax on guns and amunition. There is already a federal excise tax on bullets and sporting arms (11 percent) and handguns (10 percent). The tax goes into the Pittman-Robertson Fund, which was created in 1937 for wild life conservation purposes. Imagine what a modest state tax on bullets and hand guns could offer to help cover the health costs associated with gun violence and provide funding for gun violence education and prevention efforts throughout the state.
Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota: Working to End Gun Violence said, "Public policy matters. It is time for our public officials to acknowledge that gun violence is a problem, that they can do something about it, and that they are morally obligated to work to solve the problem. Homicide is not an acceptable price to pay for political expediency, for blind ideology or for gun industry profits -- there is no excuse for failure to act."

According to David Hemenway from the Harvard School of Public Health, the United States has a rate of.homicide 7 times that of other wealthy nations, driven by a 20-times higher rate of gun homicide. A new investigation by Mother Jones has found a national trend of rising mass shootings since 1982. Mother Jones also reported a nationwide rollback in gun regulations since 2009.

It is unfortunate that currently, even if the Minneapolis City Council and a majority of residents in our City wanted to do more to legally regulate hand guns in our city, we couldn't.  Our hands our tied by state law.  It is time to demand that the State Legislature rescind its 1985 limitation on local governments' ability to regulate handguns. It is time for Minneapolis to be allowed to create better gun control laws.

I believe that we could at least implement Police Chief Dolan's idea for a voluntary registration system for handguns and pass a local law requiring that people who have a gun lost or stolen report that loss or theft to the police.  These would be small steps we could take at the local level, and eventually, if the state legislature would relinquish its strangle hold on Minnesota cities, it could lead us to other reforms.

Please join me in calling for the state government to give Minneapolis, and other cities and counties in the state,  the flexibility granted to so many other cities in other states throughout the nation, to seriously consider and, if they deem it wise, enact constitutional city gun control reforms to help stop the reckless, and often deadly use of handguns in our city.


At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not agree with you that taxes should be used as a form of social engineering. Taxes should be collected as fairly as possible for the purpose of funding government.
I also disagree that Minneapolis should have different or more complicated gun related laws than the rest of the state.


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