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Minnesotans Wearing Orange to Honor Gun Violence Victims

Some Minnesotans will take part in National Gun Violence Awareness Day to honor those who've died from gun violence. (Morguefile)
Some Minnesotans will take part in National Gun Violence Awareness Day to honor those who've died from gun violence. (Morguefile)
June 2, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. – As gun related violence rises in some parts of Minnesota, local gun control advocates are wearing orange today to bring awareness to the issue.

Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and several groups, including Everytown for Gun Safety, are taking a cue from the hunters who wear orange to protect themselves from other sportsmen.

The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence, executive director of Protect Minnesota, argues the state's gun violence problem is multi-faceted and needs a combination of solutions.

"In Minneapolis right now we have the problem of gun homicide,” she explains. “Statewide in Minnesota, the problem of gun violence is largely suicide – 82 percent of all gun deaths in Minnesota are suicides. And so those will have different answers."

Gun control groups are holding Wear Orange events in several cities today, including Minneapolis and Duluth.

The National Rifle Association, however, maintains the Wear Orange event is a "thinly veiled anti-gun stunt."

The idea was started in 2013 by a group of South Side Chicago teens that wanted to honor their friend Hadiya Pendleton. The 15-year-old girl was shot and killed just days after performing for President Barack Obama at the White House.

Bence says state lawmakers could honor additional victims of gun violence by tightening some restrictions on who can access guns.

"We at Protect Minnesota support gun rights, while still supporting common sense legislation that can help keep the wrong people from getting a gun at the wrong time and using it in a wrong way," she states.

Bence says one idea would be to close a loophole that allows prohibited buyers to legally purchase a gun from a private unlicensed seller at a gun show.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - MN