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At least 15 dead as severe weather sweeps across central US; on Memorial Day, IA labor leaders honor fallen workers; Medical center installs microgrid to safeguard clinic power supply; 'Second look' laws gain traction, but MS sticks to elderly parole; Will summer heat melt New Mexicans' cravings for ice cream?

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One congressman cites ways Biden could get more support from communities of color. A new Louisiana law reclassifies two abortion medications as controlled substances. And Ohio advocates work to boost youth voter turnout.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Evidence Touted as MN Moves to Adopt Gun-Safety Laws

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Tuesday, May 16, 2023   

Minnesota appears to be on the verge of adopting new gun-safety laws.

Some of the common talking points have come up in debate, but groups demanding action say the proposals have evidence on their side. The proposals cleared their final legislative hurdles Monday as part of a larger public safety bill.

One provision would establish extreme no-risk protection orders, where someone deemed a threat to themselves or others would be temporarily blocked from having access to firearms. Another expands background checks for gun shows and private gun sales.

Molly Leutz, Minnesota chapter lead for the group Moms Demand Action, said the proposals are not "knee-jerk" reaction laws.

"There is evidence from these laws being in place in other states that they have efficacy in reducing gun violence," Leutz pointed out.

University of Michigan researchers say protection order laws appear to be an effective tool in preventing firearm incidents, such as mass shootings. And Johns Hopkins University said states without universal background checks have 30% higher levels of seeing guns eventually getting into the hands of criminals.

The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus contends the provisions would burden lawful gun owners without reducing firearm crimes or suicide rates.

Maggiy Emery, interim executive director of Protect Minnesota, echoes sentiments from others, saying these are worthwhile strategies based on how they've been applied elsewhere. She said there's no "one-size-fits-all" approach to reducing gun violence, but added these would be important solutions to build on.

"These bills represent the bottom-line, common-sense, should-have-been-done-years-ago things that Minnesota is behind on," Emery contended. "And once we get these over the finish line, that's really going to open up an opportunity for us to think about what else can we be doing here that's going to be really effective in saving lives."

Federal data show suicides make up a majority of firearm deaths in Minnesota, and Emery feels the protection order provision could be very effective in preventing those situations. Gov. Tim Walz has indicated he would sign such laws into place.


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