Activists head to Minnesota Capitol demanding gun safety

Hundreds of people headed to the State Capitol Tuesday, hoping to put gun safety on Minnesota’s agenda. 

Moms Demand Action's Minnesota chapter said they originally had about 20 people signed up to come to the capitol - and then the shootings in Parkland happened.

The point was to send a message to lawmakers, and on this first day in session, there was no escaping.

“I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother, I'm a retired teacher. I'm tired of hearing of this on the news. We need to do something," said Sherry Anderson with MDA.  

Melanie Hazelip said it was her first time at a MDA event.

“After the recent events, I felt like I just had to something," she said.      

The shooting that killed 17 students in Parkland last week could possibly have happened anywhere.

“Florida broke the dam, I think. We thought it was going to be in Boston; we thought that was going to be the one in Massachusetts, in Newtown. And it didn't stop it, and we just have to save our babies,” said Chris Stone with MDA.

In the House alone, there's been 31 bills dealing with firearms issues in the past year. One bill, introduced Tuesday, bans bump-stocks like the one the Las Vegas shooter used to kill 58 people.

Another bill, introduced last year, requires criminal background checks on all gun transfers. There is also a "stand your ground" bill allowing the use of force to protect yourself or your home.

And there's another bill creating the right to carry without a permit.

None of the four bills have yet had a hearing, but house leaders anticipate discussions.

"They have to be thoughtful conversations and not just sort of reactionary. We have to look at the issue as a whole and not just be reactionary and think we're going to solve the problem with some magic bullet,” House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin said.  

But for many of these mothers, that may not be good enough.

"Frankly, we will be watching how they vote and whether they take action. If they don't have the courage to take action, then we'll elect people who will," said Erin Zamoff with MDA.  

The gun safety group Protect Minnesota is holding its own rally at the Capitol on Thursday. There will also be a march at the Capitol on March 24, and Moms Demand Action will be back lobbying in April.