Minnesota group changes the narrative around gun control

Mia DiLorenzo, freshman apprentice

On April 18, 2019, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords flew to Minneapolis to help launch a new group, the Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety. Giffords is a victim of gun violence herself: she was shot in the head eight years ago while meeting constituents at a Safeway in Tucson. As a gun owner, Giffords often addresses the role that gun owners have to play in the conversation. She has expressed the hope that the Minnesota group will be a massive step in the right direction and will positively change the conversation.

Gun owners across Minnesota are speaking out against the National Rifle Association and changing the conversation surrounding gun violence. The Minnesota Gun Owners For Safety is a coalition of gun owners, many of whom are veterans, pilots, and law enforcement officers working for stronger regulations on firearms and comprehensive background checks.

The NRA, a massive and powerful lobbyist group, has ostensibly become the face of gun owners across the nation. However, members of the Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety group feel that the NRA hasn’t represented them fairly or enforced important regulations. “The NRA doesn’t represent me. They are only interested in helping the gun manufacturers,” member Bill Moore said. Similarly, veteran Cary Bacall expressed his views on the NRA. “[The NRA] isn’t doing anyone any favors; they are the enemy,” Bacall said.

The founders were motivated to form this group as they felt that the NRA wasn’t properly maintaining gun safety measures and upholding stronger gun laws. They felt they needed to show that the majority of gun-owning citizens support gun control measures and legislation, but are not adequately represented by lobbyist groups.

Minnesota Gun Owners for Safety hopes to influence legislators and public officials to adopt common-sense gun laws. Earlier that morning, Giffords met with Governor Tim Walz who expressed his overwhelming support of the group and the cause. Members of the group are certain that it will bring about positive change in Minnesota because they feel that they are addressing the voices of a group that is typically ignored.

Lydia Kuykendal, the Associate Engagement Director for Giffords, expressed how the group is essential to solving the gun violence epidemic. “It’s been a very extreme conversation. The moderate majority has been drowned out and I think that this group is doing a very good job of putting the voice to the middle,” Kuykendal said.