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RELEASE: Rep. Fue Lee Introduces Bill to Address Gun Violence Trauma

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

SAINT PAUL, MN – In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, FL, State Rep. Fue Lee (DFL-Minneapolis) has introduced legislation to address gun violence trauma felt by the survivors of a shooting incident.

“Trauma from gun violence is present in our community and we can’t allow it to become normal. You saw it just last night when we had an emergency lockdown event at Patrick Henry Highschool,” said Rep. Lee. “Fortunately, no one was injured there, but these emergency events with guns in schools, homes, public places - leave a mark on us after they happen.”

Rep. Lee’s bill (HF 3020) would direct the Minnesota Commissioner of Health to establish a pilot program aimed at reducing the trauma caused by gun violence, using a $100,000 appropriation from the state. The pilot program would be directed to look at the root causes of gun violence – be it community violence, domestic abuse, or suicide.

“Thousands of Minnesotans are pleading for us to do something to reduce gun violence, and I’m turning their frustration and anger into action,” said Rep. Lee. “We must look seriously at addressing the root causes of gun violence before those root causes lead an individual to perpetuate more gun violence. This pilot program will make resources available to professionals and organizations in health care, social services, and victim advocacy who are already working with victims, witnesses, and perpetrators of gun violence.”

The pilot program would support training to recognize trauma as a result and cause of gun violence, to develop skills to address the effects of trauma, and to invest in community-based organizations to target individuals in need, such as Project Life and Minneapolis Group Violence Intervention initiative. The Minnesota Department of Health would have to report back to the legislature by November 2019 about the status of the pilot program.

This action builds on legislation that Rep. Lee introduced last year when he authored the “Taylor Hayden Gun Violence Prevention Act” (HF 1678). That bill would appropriate $400,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations for gun violence prevention outreach and education campaigns. The programs would be geared toward children and communities most at risk of gun violence.

“In my community, gun violence is an issue that touches almost everyone.” remarked Rep. Lee. “We must do everything in our power to stop gun violence, not just homicides, but suicides and accidental shootings as well. We have an extensive criminal justice system that deals with punishing gun violence, but now we need to be more intentional about supporting the design and implementation of programs that get ahead of it and actually work to prevent it.”

In 2017, Republicans did not give HF 1678 a hearing, and instead chose to hold hearings for HF 188, the reckless carry bill to allow dangerous criminals, teenagers, and others to carry loaded handguns in public without a permit or safety training. They also held hearings for HF 292, known as the shoot first bill, which would encourage armed vigilantism by emboldening civilians to shoot first, even in public when there are viable alternatives.