The facts are in and Congress is out of touch.
While a new poll shows 86 percent of Americans favor “red flag” and expanded background check laws to reduce gun violence, Congress, mostly Republicans, has closed their eyes, ears and mouths. They won’t hear the voice of the people, they won’t see the imperative of representative democracy and they won’t advocate for commonsense guns laws.
While Minnesota’s congressional delegation split mostly along party lines with Democrats supporting the gun safety measures and Republicans against, it was disappointing to see Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, 7th District, side with Republicans in the gun safety debate.
Peterson, whose district includes Sibley County, told the Star Tribune the gun background check legislation approved by the House earlier this year was only a remedy to “feel better.” It passed 240 to 190 with eight Republicans voting yes and Peterson just one of two Democrats voting no.
We beg to differ with Peterson. The bill passed the House by a large majority of Peterson’s fellow Democrats would expand background checks to private party sales at gun shows or parking lots and transactions on the internet.
By some estimates, thousands of guns are sold outside of a background check through the internet and because private party sales are not tracked, no one knows how many there are. But an in-depth investigation by NPR showed on one internet site alone, Armslist, where thousands of private sellers go, had some 28,000 guns available for sale at one time.
So, if Peterson thinks tracking thousands of sometimes illegal sales is only window dressing, we’d like to see his solution.
And Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-1st District, told the Star Tribune he voted against the House bill saying it was “onerous” because it would affect transfers between family members and hunting. But the legislation specifically exempted transfers between family and waives background checks for hunting.
We urge the vocal 86 percent and 89 percent of Americans who favor background checks and red flag laws to ask their representatives why they’re not representing the vast majority of their constituents.
And we urge members of Congress to follow their duty to represent and act on the will of the people. Minnesota’s Republican delegation and Peterson are falling far short.