In his May 15 letter, “This gun-control legislation is partisan and ceremonial,” Patrick Watson criticized Democrats for being unwilling to compromise with Republicans on the two gun safety bills up for consideration this session. After his first sentence everything is flat-out false.
Democrats did revise the background checks bill to exclude hunting rifles and shotguns, by request of Republicans. Similarly, the red flag bill was modified to allow only law enforcement to petition a judge to remove firearms from someone deemed dangerous to himself or others — not also family members, as the bill originally stated. And what did the GOP offer in exchange for the revisions? Majority Leader Gazelka stated that the bills would be “dead on arrival” should they reach the Senate. No matter that a vast majority of Minnesotans as well as law enforcement support these bills.
Mr. Watson also accused Democrats of sticking to the “out-of-state-financed efforts to pass ceremonial bills strictly for political reasons.” Protect Minnesota is an independent, Minnesota-based nonprofit formed in 1991. Moms Demand Action is a nonpartisan organization born out of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The Minnesota chapter is composed of more than 50,000 resident supporters and 3,000 active resident volunteers. Both organizations boast numerous gun-owner, veteran, and GOP-leaning supporters and have worked tirelessly on Minnesota’s behalf to get these bills through the legislative process. Nothing was ceremonial or done for political gain.
Finally, the letter proclaims Minnesota to be one of the safest places in the world. Nonsense. Minnesota’s gun violence mirrors that of the U.S., which towers over the rest of the high-income countries in gun deaths. More than three people are shot per day in our state. Worse, from 2000-2017, deaths from firearms have increased 50 percent in Minnesota, compared to a 38 percent increase nationally.
Jo Haugen, Eagan
Reading the letters oftentimes you run into some thought-provoking opinions. The Sunday edition of May 19 was one of those.
Regarding the left-leaning Democrats’ proposal to lower the voting age to 16, the letter “Raise the voting age” grabbed my attention because several years ago one of the Democrats in the state Legislature suggested 16 as the proposed voting age. I responded in a letter you published saying, in effect, why not let cats and dogs vote as well?
Well what about it? I can have a dog put his/her paw on the ballot to vote. Politics tends to be a con game, and for our republic to stand as Ben Franklin suggested requires some thoughtful reasoning and to sort out the truth as best as we can. Young age most likely won’t do it, and in fact many of us older ones may not understand the issues as well either, including me or my fellows at my age, but at least we have a chance to make some sense out of our vote.
Your letter writer, Mark Kirchner of St. Paul, also suggested that 18 is too young, and those points were also worth noting. Thank you, Mark, for a well written letter.
Jack H. Herrick, Burnsville