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President Visits Minnesota to Talk Gun Safety

PHOTO: President Obama will make a stop in Minneapolis this afternoon to talk to local leaders and law enforcement about ways to reduce gun violence.
PHOTO: President Obama will make a stop in Minneapolis this afternoon to talk to local leaders and law enforcement about ways to reduce gun violence.
February 4, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS - The issue of firearms safety takes center stage in Minnesota today as President Obama visits to discuss his ideas to reduce violence involving guns.

The President is scheduled to meet this afternoon with local leaders and law enforcement officials in Minneapolis, the scene of the deadliest workplace shooting in state history. Six were murdered last fall, including the father of Sami Rahamim, who said the issue goes well beyond the mass shootings that make the news.

"Big cities - Minneapolis, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago - experience something more like slow-motion mass murder. People are being killed in single-victim, multiple-victim shootings on a daily basis," Rahamim declared. "Thirty-four Americans killed every day."

Those opposed to any type of gun restrictions say their rights are protected by the Second Amendment and that the proposals will do little to actually solve the problems surrounding gun violence.

Rahamim said there is much that the nation can be doing better to prevent gun violence, without infringing on the rights of gun owners.

"People, when they pin the label 'gun control' on something, they turn away," he said. "We're not looking for gun control. We're looking for reasonable solutions to reduce gun violence, and I think there's a lot of stuff there that people would agree on if only they would take the time to look and have the discussion."

Last September 27, Andrew Engledinger was fired from his job at Accent Signage and then went on a shooting rampage before turning the gun on himself.

Today's presidential visit will take place at the Police Department's Special Operations Center in north Minneapolis. Former Chief of Police Tim Dolan said efforts like those to increase background checks would help, because there is a mental health problem in America, as in other countries.

"We're not alone with that, but what we are alone with is keeping weapons out of their hands, and so it comes down to making people responsible for the weapons that they have; not taking them away, but making them responsible."

In addition to the push federally, there is also gun-safety legislation that's been proposed locally. One bill aims to give prosecutors in Minnesota more tools to crack down on gun crimes and those possessing guns illegally.

The President's package of proposals is at WhiteHouse.gov.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN