Jun 10, 2022 - News

March for our Lives returns to Minnesota amid gun control push

Photo illustration of a gun violence rally with an American flag in the background
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

The national debate over gun laws is set to hit the streets of downtown Minneapolis on Saturday.

The big picture: The youth-led "March for Our Lives" movement, which started after the 2018 Parkland school shooting, is organizing events in more than 400 cities across the nation and world this weekend.

  • Supporters are urging passage of new restrictions in the wake of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.

What's happening: A package of gun control measures, including a provision raising the legal purchasing age for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, passed the U.S. House this week.

  • In Minnesota, some Democrats have renewed calls for new restrictions, including expanded background checks, a "red flag" law and a minimum age increase similar to the one in the federal proposal.

Reality check: The federal proposal is all but certain to fail in the U.S. Senate. Changes at the state level are also highly unlikely this year, in light of the timing and political dynamics at the divided Legislature.

Between the lines: Guns could become a galvanizing issue in the November midterms for voters on both sides of the debate, including in close legislative races that could determine which parties control the State Capitol.

  • But other issues, including crime and inflation, are also expected to be top of mind for voters casting their ballots.

What they're saying: March organizers say they want lawmakers to "take action immediately to stop the gun violence epidemic." State Senate Democrats echoed that message in a news conference earlier this week.

  • “DFLers are committed to responding to that grief with action to prevent future tragedies," Senate Minority Leader Melisa López Franzen told reporters.

The other side: GOP state Sen. Warren Limmer, who chairs a key public safety committee, said lawmakers should focus on other measures aimed at addressing violent crime, such as funding for police recruitment and tougher sentencing requirements.

  • Minnesota Gun Owners' Caucus, meanwhile, has criticized Democrats' proposals as being "highly partisan bills intended to be used in an election year," not "serious bills to end mass shootings."

Situational awareness: The local march is scheduled for 10am Saturday at 1200 Washington Ave. S., by U.S. Bank Stadium.

  • A city spokesperson has not responded to Axios' question about whether there are any anticipated road closures.
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