Owning a firearm is a great responsibility. As a gun owner I pride myself on the safe storage of my shotgun, along with the safe discharge of my weapon. Gun clubs once stood for education and training, promoting safety and sportsmanship. Over the last 45 years things have changed and responsible gun owners should be upset. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported 39,773 gun deaths in the United States in 2017, including the 23,854 suicides. In this regard, the US is a unique case.
Minnesota has a lot in common with Canada, with a gun ownership rate of 36.7% and 34.7%, respectively. In 2016 there were 100 homicides in Minnesota in 2016 while in all of Canada there were only 223, according to Time Magazine. The population of Minnesota is 5.655 million, the population of Canada 37.476 million.
There is a problem here, but we don’t have to look beyond our borders to find solutions. I do not support the confiscation of firearms. I will push and sponsor laws covering registration, education, and sale of firearms. These fixes stem from best practices utilized in other states. I see parallels between cars and guns, each carries a great responsibility. Thus, Minnesota needs to adopt strict gun licensing and registration methods, the same things we would expect when owning a car.
If you want your driver’s license, you have to prove your ability to drive. You should expect to prove your ability to safely use a firearm if you wish to apply to purchase a gun. This would be done with proof of the completion of a firearms safety course. Furthermore, when a firearm is purchased, the serial number of that firearm is registered to the owner, like a title transfer of an automobile. The owner then takes on the responsibility for what happens as a result of the gun - no different than car ownership. Should the firearm be lost or stolen, the owner should notify police. Without notifying law enforcement, the gun owner accepts responsibility for what happens.
When similar laws were passed in Connecticut there was a 40% drop in the firearm homicide rate and a decrease of 15% in the firearm suicide rate. When similar laws gutted in Missouri, the firearm homicide rate increased 25% and the firearm suicide rate increased 16%. As reported by Giffords Law Center, even when 80 urban counties are examined simultaneously, similar laws account for an 11% drop in firearm homicides. The 10 states with the highest gun death per capita also have some of the weakest gun laws and enforcement. Licensing and registration makes our communities safer, without restricting the rights of lawful citizens.