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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

More About Guns

Category: Guns
Posted: 04/26/18 10:38

by Dave Mindeman

Here are 15 stats ranked in order of a particular item. Can you guess what the common denominator is?

1. Alaska
2. Louisiana
3. Alabama
4. Mississippi
5. Wyoming
6. Montana
7. New Mexico
8. Missouri
9. Oklahoma
10. South Carolina
11. Arkansas
12. Tennessee
13. Kentucky
14. Nevada
15. Idaho

OK. Lots of "red" states in there. Lots of rural states. Only New Mexico and Nevada voted for a Democrat for President - but both have Republican governors.

So what makes them stand out?

They are ranked in order with the highest rates of gun deaths per 100,000 residents in the country. Not Illinois. Not New York. Not California. The reason this goes under the radar is that they are mostly low population states, yet their residents have the highest risk of death by gun.

Gun safety is not just an urban problem - it is a problem everywhere. And until we have more gun safety regulation put in place, this trend can go nowhere but up.

Background checks, smart guns, ban assault weapons, limiting high capacity magazines....these are things we can do.

So what are we waiting for?
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The Will Of The People On Guns Is Thwarted By MN GOP

Category: Guns
Posted: 04/23/18 14:01

by Dave Mindeman

The Star Tribune poll looked into the issue of gun laws and came up with two opposing ideas....

1) Regulations will be a tough sell. "Legislators and lobbyists said neither those nor other gun control laws are likely to progress this year in St. Paul, with Republican legislative leaders showing no willingness to take them up."

Notice it is Republican legislative leaders that are the obstacle.

Secondly, is the opposite view.

2) Overwhelming public support. "Asked whether criminal background checks should be mandatory on all gun sales -- current state law has exceptions for private sales and at gun shows -- a full 90 percent of poll respondents said yes, with only 8 percent opposed. And 86 percent said it should be mandatory to report stolen or lost guns to police."

Anything that has that kind of overwhelming support should be a safe political stance, shouldn't it? But Republicans at the Capitol do not fear the public, they fear the NRA Gun lobby.

There is an obvious flaw in the system when this is the case. The people are the ones to be represented. They are the ones who determine electoral fates. Yet, somehow, Republicans have minimized public support and have found ways to ignore gun safety voices.

The numbers are overwhelming:

56% support stricter gun laws - 31% oppose.

59% oppose arming teachers - 35% support.

63% support raising the legal purchase age to 21 - 27% oppose.

59% support a ban on military-styled rifles with detachable magazines while 31% oppose the ban.

90% support mandatory criminal background check on all gun sales, including those sold privately and at gun shows - 8% oppose.

54% believe we would be less safe if more people carried guns - 36% believe we would be safer.

45% say Congress is not going far enough on gun laws - 23% say too far.

Republicans are not reflecting the will of the public - they are obstructing that will. That would suggest that we need a change in this Minnesota legislature. First the House in 2018 - then the Senate in 2020.

It is that simple. The will of the people needs to make itself heard.

And that must be at the ballot box.
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Holding Police Officers Accountable

Category: Guns
Posted: 03/31/18 18:50

by Dave Mindeman

In Sacramento, a black man was shot 8 times by police while unarmed in his grandmother's back yard. He died. With a family. Father of 2.

And, as it is inevitably the case in these things, the officers claimed he had a gun. He did not. He had a cellphone.

Two officers shot 20 rounds (10 apiece) killing this young man. 20 rounds. 20 fricking rounds.

His name is Stephon Clark and he will soon be buried in Sacramento. Did he really have to die?

Another black man in Baton Rouge, Alton Sterling, was shot multiple times while lying on the ground with an officer on top of him. They may have found a gun in his pocket - but it was not in his hand. Why shoot him? And why multiple times?

Conservatives denigrate the Black Lives Matter protests as overreactions. They are just making trouble. But these incidents are disturbing on so many levels. It is hard to understand how a trained police officer can do these things.

It is blatantly obvious that African Americans are treated differently than whites in police encounters. When an officer confronts a black man, he/she is immediately on a hair trigger. The actions are nervous. The voice tense.

Clearly, something is wrong here and the BLM protests are justified. We need to figure this out. Too many are dying. Too many of these encounters end in fatalities.

Truly, lethal force actions need to be reevaluated. Do the police need multiple shots? Do they need to aim for vital organs?

Cops obviously need to assess situations quickly, but do they need to draw their weapons immediately? I wonder if there has ever been a study about how quickly weapons are drawn when confronting a black suspect vs. a white suspect?

In Britain, cops, for the most part, do not carry weapons. Which is great - but could never work here because we just have too many guns in the general public. And people, knowing this, buy more guns for their own protection. And cops, also knowing this, have to be on high alert at all times. Guns beget guns. And on it goes.

African Americans should not have to fear for their safety when they have a police encounter. The slogan is To Protect and To Serve. The African American community is not being protected or served. They live in fear.

There must be a reckoning here. This is happening much too often and the police must be held accountable. Yes, cops will fear for their lives. But citizens should also not be shot just for being in the wrong place. Police best practices need a serious evaluation and change.

Accountability means that police officers must be accountable for their mistakes or their rush to judgment. The standard defense in officer involved shootings is fearing for their lives - which has also become too broad a standard.

When a weapon is fired - we need a better explanation as to why.
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