Victims of gun violence rally against firearm bills at the Capitol

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Hundreds of volunteers with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and gun survivors from the Everytown Survivor Network rallied at the Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to reject gun bills filed this session. The committee hearing on the bills is scheduled for Wednesday.

H 238 and S 292 would make Minnesota only the second new Stand Your Ground state since 2011. Stand Your Ground laws remove the duty to retreat before using force in self-defense.

The volunteers argue that the laws “upend traditional self-defense laws, encourage armed vigilantism and give civilians in public places more leeway to shoot than the U.S. military gives soldiers in war zones,” according to a press release.

They also say that the laws do not deter crime and have a disproportionate effect on communities of color.
H 188 and S 650 would allow people to carry loaded handguns in public without a permit or safety training.

Activists argue that this may “force K-12 schools and colleges to allow people to carry loaded handguns on their premises.”

They also say that dismantling the permit requirement would lower the bar for who may carry handguns in public in Minnesota, and it would let dangerous individuals legally carry loaded handguns in crowded town centers and on city streets. Forcing schools to allow guns would “overrule the judgment of teachers and school safety experts, who oppose allowing guns into schools.”

Among the activists at the Capitol were Sa'Lesha Beeks and Rebecca Rhoda Fisher, both of whom are members of the Everytown Survivor Network.

Beeks' mother, Birdell Beeks, was shot and killed while sitting in her car with her granddaughter on Minneapolis's north side in May 2016.

Fisher’s friend Chase Passauer was shot and killed in a workplace shooting in their law office on April 7, 2016.