Minneapolis committee passes amendment to support statewide assault weapons ban

Members of the Minneapolis City Council voted to support statewide legislation to ban the sale of assault weapons and other firearm modifications Wednesday after hundreds of high school students staged a walkout and stormed City Hall with the intent of pressuring lawmakers to take action on the issue of gun violence.

Their actions come in the wake of a shooting last week that saw 17 students and teachers killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., with teenagers across the country organizing several similar walkout events for the coming weeks to press those in power to pass meaningful gun control measures at both the state and national level.

"We look to you all in positions of power to be our champions of what we are trying to say," said Collin Robinson, the citywide student body president for Minneapolis Public Schools. "The underlying message is we don’t want to be fearful in our schools."

State law in Minnesota supersedes local ordinances when it comes to firearm regulations, though that didn't stop Minneapolis' Intergovernmental Relations Committee from passing language Wednesday supporting a change to state policy when it comes to gun safety. Specifically, the language would support a statewide ban on the sale of assault-style weapons, bump stocks, silencers and extended magazines. 

The move directs the actions of city lobbyists, who will now dedicate much of their time to changing gun laws at the state level.

Before the committee's vote Wednesday, students shared some painful and deeply personal concerns about the last few years, watching as school shooting after school shooting unfolded on the news but prompted no action on the part of civic leaders. 

Many said they're afraid to turn corners at school and don't want to be the next picture in a newspaper, hoping only that the issue of students' safety could transcend party lines.

This is not about who our president is," Southwest High School student Fay Dane said. "This is not about a Republican or Democrat debate, this is about children dying."