Mayor Rybak, Chaska Chief Knight, Accent Signage Survivor Souter Call on Rep. Paulsen to Support Universal Background Checks
Souter among 81 percent of Paulsen’s constituents who support background checks
“Easier to buy a deadly weapon than a Sudafed,” says Rybak
March 28, 2013 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight and Dr. John Souter — the only wounded survivor of the deadly workplace shooting at Accent Signage in Minneapolis on September 27, 2012 — today called on U.S. Representative Erik Paulsen to support universal background checks on all gun purchases.
Dr. Souter, a resident of Wayzata, is a constituent of Rep. Paulsen. Rep. Paulsen also represents Chaska, where Chief Knight serves.
Mayor Rybak said, “After a deadly workplace shooting in Minneapolis, after Sandy Hook and after countless tragedies that never even make the national news, it still remains easier in America to buy a deadly weapon than to buy a Sudafed. The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that this must change and that we must put universal background checks in place to reduce gun violence.
“Unfortunately, Representative Erik Paulsen is still not listening to the common sense of his constituents and does not yet support universal background checks, despite the fact that one of his constituents was gravely injured in a mass shooting.
“If Erik Paulsen doesn’t support universal background checks, he’s not representing this district,” Mayor Rybak added.
Dr. Souter said, “I don’t know Representative Paulsen; I’ve heard he’s a good man. He and I have a difference of opinion on this issue, but I want my representative to hear my opinion as someone who has come closer to this issue than anyone should.
“In my personal experience, six friends and colleagues died by gun violence. Why? This isn’t America. An experience like mine humbles and devastates you — and if you start to count the people affected, like first responders and hospital staff, the numbers are immense.
“It makes no sense that on a Sunday afternoon, you can go to a gun show and buy a weapon and ammunition that can kill people, but you cannot go to a supermarket and buy a bottle of wine.
“As a survivor of a terrible incident of gun violence — and as someone who grew up in a rural area and learned to shoot at the age of 11 — I understand in a way that most people do not that Congress must pass universal background checks now. I call on Representative Paulsen to listen to me and my fellow constituents and support them.”
Police Chief Scott Knight of Chaska, which Rep. Paulsen also represents, said, “For many years, chiefs of police have stood with rank-and-file police officers — and now, with the vast majority of Americans — to fight for universal background checks. Not checks for some guns, some people, some of the time, but checks for all guns, all people, all of the time.
“I speak as the past president of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and the former chair of the Firearms Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Associatstrongly supports this position as well.
“It is insanity when some people are able to obtain any weapon they want, in any quantity they want, without having to demonstrate that they are legally able to possess them,” Chief Knight added.
Mayor Rybak concluded, “Rep. Paulsen’s constituents, like Americans everywhere, can make a difference — neighbor by neighbor, block by block. The only way that nothing will change is if we give into the cynical Washington game and believe that nothing will change.
Mayor Rybak, Chief Knight and Dr. Souter spoke out on today’s National Day to Demand Action to end gun violence that is sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, of which Mayor Rybak is a longtime member. Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a bipartisan coalition of more than 900 mayors who represent more than 68 million Americans from big cities and small towns across the country. With 1.5 million grassroots members, Mayors Against Illegal Guns is the largest gun-violence-prevention advocacy organization in America.
Published Mar. 28, 2013