Protect Minnesota’s press release on last week’s House Education Committee meeting:
Date: April 18, 2018

Contact Rep. Loon  or call her at 651-296-7449 to voice your opinion and demand she take action.


Is school safety really the first concern of Committee Chair?

In tonight's House Education Committee meeting, Chair Jennifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), used a technicality to disallow an amendment to the General Education bill offered by Rep. Jim Davnie (D-Minneapolis) that would make our students safer at school.

Although it was in her power to allow the amendment, Rep. Loon chose instead to shield majority members on the committee from having to vote on expanding criminal background checks to private sales--a measure that is supported by nearly 90% of Minnesotans. Ironically, early in the meeting the statement was made that Rep. Loon cares more about the safety of students than anything else. Instead, her actions today demonstrated that she cares more about blocking sensible gun bills and appeasing the gun lobby than the safety of students.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Rep. Loon explained her decision to disallow the amendment by saying that gun reform is a "difficult" issue. We agree: talking about children being shot dead at school because a loophole in Minnesota law makes guns accessible to those who are legally prohibited from possessing them is, indeed, difficult--at least for those who are intimidated by the NRA. But deliberating about "difficult" issues is why law makers are elected.

Because no discussion of the amendment was allowed, Protect Minnesota would like to offer these points about why extending criminal background checks to every gun sale is so important to making our schools safer. Citations for all can be found in Gun Facts, under General Resources at

1) Comprehensive criminal background checks SAVE LIVES.

Since its inception in 1998, the federal firearm background check system has blocked over 2.4 million felons and other dangerous people from buying guns.

In Minnesota, the federal background check system blocked 28,499 prohibited purchasers from buying guns between 1998-2014. 68% of those denied were convicted felons.

Of 26 law enforcement officers shot to death nationwide in 2013, 50% were killed by individuals who were prohibited from possessing firearms.

In the 19 states that require a background check for all handgun sales, there are: 
 46% fewer women shot to death by intimate partners,
 48% fewer law enforcement shot to death with handguns, 
 48% fewer people killed by firearms suicide, 
 48% less gun trafficking, and

2) Comprehensive criminal background checks have overwhelming support.

An April 2016 poll showed that 86% of Minnesota voters, 77% of Minnesota Republican voters and 72% of Minnesota gun owners support comprehensive background checks. Support for criminal background checks has risen significantly since.

According to a February 2018 poll by Quinnipiac University, support for comprehensive background checks is almost universal--97% among gun owners and non-gun owners alike.

3) The Gun Lobby's objections are specious.


Objection: Criminals don't follow the law.

TRUTH: That's the beauty of comprehensive criminal background checks. The law applies not to the criminals attempting to purchase guns illegally, but to federally licensed gun dealers and private sellers, who are presumably responsible, law-abiding citizens.

Objection: Having to go to a licensed dealer for the background check would cause undue burden on the private seller and buyer.

TRUTH: Many private sales take place at gun shows, where there are licensed dealers present. In addition, there are 1,658 federally licensed gun dealers in Minnesota—more than the number of post offices —and 98.9 percent of Minnesotans live within 10 miles of a dealer. Most background checks take 90 seconds or less and cost about $35.00. Thousands of Minnesotans undergo a background check every year when seeking employment or housing. This process is no different.

Objection: This amendment would establish a gun registration, the first step on the slippery slope to confiscation.

TRUTH: Federal law expressly prohibits the use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to create any system of registration of firearms or firearm owners.

Objection: This amendment wouldn't have stopped the (insert name here) school shooting.

Truth: No law can stop every act of gun violence. However, the 50% of American children who go to school in states that have passed comprehensive criminal background check laws are SAFER than children in Minnesota. Lawmakers in these states didn't allow a technicality to keep them from doing everything in their power to protect students. We are appalled that Rep. Loon didn't choose to do the same for Minnesota's kids.


Contact Rep. Loon  or call her at 651-296-7449 to voice your opinion and demand she take action.