Rare agreement between gun control, gun rights activists

When President Joe Biden signed a gun safety bill into law last weekend, as he put the cap back on his pen he said, “God willing, it will save a lot of lives.”

That’s a goal everyone can agree with, including both sides of the contentious gun control issue.

The bill provides $750 million to help states implement “red flag” laws to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous or guilty of domestic violence. There’s also money for mental health programs and school security. Gun buyers under age 21 will also face deeper background checks.

“It’s a compromise, right. It’s not perfect, but it’s one step, one step we haven’t had in ages,” said Rashmi Seneviratne, the executive director of Protect Minnesota. “I didn’t expect it to pass. I didn’t, I just thought it would die down. And so as a mom of two kids, little kids that do active shooter drills, I think this is an amazing first step and I really applaud both sides to put aside politics and elections and do something.”

There is also agreement with the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus Executive Director Rob Doar, who says there is common ground in several areas.

“Things like mental health funding, health resources in our schools, school safety, school security audits, threat assessment teams, all of those things are things that our organization and those who advocate for stronger gun control generally agree on,” Doar told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

And it’s not just federal action that’s promoting optimism. This week, Gov. Tim Walz also authorized $1 million for free gun locks to be distributed in Minnesota along with gun safety education.

“This is going to stop accidental shootings when children get ahold of guns,” Seneviratne said.

The free gun trigger locks will be distributed at the Minnesota State Fair and community events around Minnesota.