Another good gathering for our Hear Our Voices Constituent Rally this afternoon - this time about the epidemic of gun violence in our country. We gathered in front of Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s building (because he won’t let us in his office) to share our pain and frustration at his prioritizing of the interests of the NRA over his constituents’ right to live without fear of being murdered.
We reminded him of the fact that 9 out of 10 Minnesotans, including gun owners, support common sense gun laws that have a proven track record in drastically reducing mass shootings, suicides, and domestic violence.
We expressed frustration with his scapegoating of people with mental illness, who are far likelier to suffer violence than commit it. It is white supremacy and a history of violence and violent attitudes against women that lie at the root of the vast majority of mass shooting events, and those are not mental illnesses.
We expressed concern about Rep. Hagedorn’s misunderstanding of what the 2nd Amendment actually says - it does not guarantee every American the right to bear all manner of arms but rather a “well-regulated militia” which founding father Alexander Hamilton clearly delineated in the Federalist papers as something more akin to the National Guard.
And we expressed confusion at Rep. Hagedorn’s moral inconsistency in claiming that he is pro-life and yet doing nothing to preserve the lives of men, women, and children in his district.
As we demonstrated, we got lots of appreciative honks (one rude yelled comment), one passerby with whom we engaged in a lengthy but respectful discussion, and a veteran who had served 10 years in the military stopped by to say that he absolutely agreed that things have gotten too out of hand and expressed his gratitude for what we were doing.
We do not expect Rep. Hagedorn to agree with us all the time or to take positions drastically inconsistent with the priorities and values he has put forth. However, we do expect our lawmaker to value human life, to value his constituents’ opinions, to actually understand constitutional freedoms as well as responsibilities, and to work hard toward proven solutions that would impact everyone in his district. The vast majority of both Republicans and Democrats are in favor of these measures.
In essence, we expect Rep. Hagedorn to value *all* of our lives and *all* of our freedoms, chief among them, the ability to live, learn, play, work, and worship free from the threat of murder by men with guns in their hands and hate in their hearts.