ELY – As many as 70 Ely residents braved a brisk early-spring wind Saturday morning to join the worldwide “March For Our Lives” event in calling for stricter gun laws in the United States. The …
ELY – As many as 70 Ely residents braved a brisk early-spring wind Saturday morning to join the worldwide “March For Our Lives” event in calling for stricter gun laws in the United States. The rally was born out of the most recent student shooting at a Florida school last month
Dayna Mase, organizer of the local event, credited the students of Parkland High School for starting the movement that has resulted in protests as well as pressure on elected officials to enact further gun restrictions. “Those survivors are the ones who started this movement,” she said.
“This event was an effort to draw attention to the need for stricter gun laws in our country,” she said. “We are trying to make people aware that more changes need to be made to gun laws. This is not about taking away our Second Amendment rights. This is about getting guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.”
Ely was one of nearly 800-plus communities across the nation to hold a march on Saturday.
“We march in solidarity. We gather peacefully and march requesting sensible gun laws be enacted so we as a country can come together to protect children and all citizens,” she said.
“Saturday’s event marked the next step in continuing this conversation,” Mase said. “I don’t know what the solution is, but I know we need to continue to talk about it.”
Lawmakers spurred to action
Minnesota DFL state senators are hoping the weekend rallies against gun violence can get gun bills moving again at the State Capitol. They want the Senate to hold hearings on more than a dozen bills already introduced this year, including school safety measures, enhanced background checks, a bump stock ban, and an age limit on assault weapons.
Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, noted that Republicans have talked to him about an informational hearing, which would not include a vote. He said it is not too late to address the issue, even though a deadline passed last week for bills to clear at least one committee.
“I think we need more than an informational hearing. We need action this year, and there is time. The medical cannabis bill a couple of years ago was passed after all the deadlines had passed. When there is consensus and will to make something happen, there is a procedural basis to make something happen, as well,” he said.
A variety of gun measures have been introduced at the Capitol in the wake of the shootings at a school in Parkland, Florida, but two measures were tabled in House committee earlier this month; and key committee chairs have said gun bills are not likely to pass this year.
MPR contributed to this report. Listen to MPR in Ely at 89.3FM or on the Iron Range at 92.5 FM.