Minnesota elected officials respond to mass shootings in Texas, Ohio

Published 4:32 pm Monday, August 5, 2019

By Marcheta Fornoff

MPR News/90.1

State and federal elected officials from Minnesota are weighing in after two more mass shootings happened in America this weekend.

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The first shooting was Saturday in El Paso, Texas, where at least 20 people were killed and more than two dozen were injured in a shooting at a Walmart store and the surrounding shopping area. A suspect was arrested at the scene.

The second shooting happened early Sunday in Dayton, Ohio, where nine people were killed by a gunman and at least 27 were injured in an area with several popular nightclubs and bars. The gunman was fatally shot by police.

At a previously scheduled event Sunday morning in St. Paul to celebrate the launch of National Farmers Market Week, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz told the crowd that “the strengthening of families and the strengthening of neighborhoods is key to who we are. And I would be remiss and negligent to not note that that sense of community was torn apart yesterday across our country.”

“It was torn apart in El Paso. It was torn apart in Dayton, and every single one of us knows — it’s not if, it’s when this thing happens again. And that is simply unacceptable. I don’t know, as the governor, what the solution is. What I do know [is that] doing nothing is not that solution.”

Walz also said: “Thoughts and prayers are good. But action is just as good. [Action] is better to move forward.”

Among other responses to the shootings:

U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips emailed the following statement to MPR News:

“We spend billions of dollars and countless hours to keep our nation safe from foreign attacks, and it is baffling that we can’t do the same to save lives from domestic terrorism and gun violence. Our nation is crying out for reform — for universal background checks, for an assault weapons ban, and for closing dangerous loopholes that make it too easy to purchase firearms. The longer we wait, the more likely it is that you, me, or more of our loved ones are victims of the next shooting. We need to stop this madness. I resolve to work with sensible members of Congress to identify solutions to this epidemic.”

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig emailed the following statement to MPR News:

“We cannot accept senseless, hate-fueled mass shootings as normal in this country. We must demand better of our leaders and of ourselves as Americans to unite against hatred, and we must take action on common sense gun safety reforms now.”

No response from several Minnesota leaders:

U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, Jim Hagedorn, Pete Stauber and Tom Emmer did not respond to a request for comment and did not have any public Twitter posts on either shooting at the time this story was published.