Rep. JoAnn Ward: Minnesotans deserve common-sense gun safety measures

State Rep. JoAnn Ward, District 53A

One of the most humbling things about serving as a state legislator has been listening to residents of our community and state about what keeps them up at night, their hopes for the future and what they value about living in Minnesota. Throughout my time at the Capitol, a key issue I have consistently heard from Minnesotans is the need to address gun violence and keep our communities safe.

We have witnessed the gun violence in America’s schools, workplaces, churches and in homes with domestic violence and suicides. Even more gun related deaths are accidents. We try to understand how this could have been prevented. Thoughts and prayers have not lead to action, and if we want to make meaningful change, we have to ask ourselves the question “what can we do?” We are long overdue in taking the common sense steps to help reduce these senseless and preventable deaths.

We are not powerless and should confront an honest conclusion: most gun related fatalities can be prevented. Minnesotans are not asking for burdensome government regulations, just common sense steps to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and domestic abusers.

One of these measures could be enacting criminal background checks on firearm purchases, which nearly 90 percent of Minnesotans support, according to a recent Star Tribune poll. Requiring criminal background checks on gun sales does not prevent a successful purchase to a law-abiding citizen, nor does it place an unfair burden on sellers.   

In recent years, the national crisis of gun violence has proven to be a big challenge. Common sense solutions, like background checks, to address preventable deaths haven’t gained any traction under House and Senate Majority leadership in the Minnesota Legislature. It’s time for them to stand up and take action on these initiatives that our neighbors and communities are asking of us.

The 2018 legislative majority still has time to revive the common-sense gun safety measures they halted earlier in session. I hope you will join me in urging them to act now; our children, family and loved ones deserve to be safe in their schools, homes, places of worship and all other public spaces. 


– Ward is serving her final term at the Minnesota House of Representatives. She encourages constituents to contact her at 651-296-7807 or by email at

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