Reader Opinion: Sanctuary proposal
The Crow Wing County Board has been publicly asked by our state representative to designate the county as a so-called “Second Amendment sanctuary” — a place where, if the state enacted a red flag law or universal background checks for gun sales, local law enforcement officials would be asked to violate that law by failing to enforce it. This is a misguided effort.
Locally, I have friends in multiple families who have lost a loved one to suicidal gun violence. The ongoing pain of those families is excruciating. A red flag law has the potential to give desperate people and their families a second chance at life by removing weapons for a limited time during a mental health crisis.
According to statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and published by the organization Everytown for Gun Safety ( everytownresearch.org ) on average, 422 people died in Minnesota each year between 2013 and 2017 in gun violence. Fully 78% (almost 4 out of every 5) of those deaths were suicides. In Crow Wing County during that period, there were six gun deaths each year, which gave us a higher per capita rate than Ramsey or Hennepin Counties. That is six families every year among our neighbors who wish to turn back the clock and rescue their loved one.
Red flag laws and universal background checks won’t solve all of our nation’s gun violence problems, but if enacted, they will be a step in the right direction. And if enacted, Crow Wing County law enforcement officials should be allowed to enforce them when needed.
Anne Nelson Fisher