Eden Prairie legislators, law enforcement and gun violence prevention groups responded to the mass shootings that killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 4 and at least 22 in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3.
The Eden Prairie Police Department shared a statement on the shootings on its Facebook page on Aug. 5.
“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the victims, families, first responders and communities affected by the tragic events in Ohio and Texas over the weekend,” the department wrote. “The Eden Prairie Police Department provides officers with important training and resources to prepare them for responding to events such as these, and we are committed to ensuring the safety of our community. As always, you can help by calling 911 immediately to report suspicious activity.”
Gun violence prevention was a high-priority topic at the two most recent town halls held by Eden Prairie’s state elected officials on April 17 and Jan. 5.
State Reps. Laurie Pryor, DFL-Minnetonka, and Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, DFL-Eden Prairie, plan to attend a Wednesday rally held by Protect Minnesota, a gun violence prevention group, representatives for the officials told Eden Prairie News. Pryor shared a statement that condemned the “toxic level of hate” seen on social media and easy access to firearms and said that “as policymakers, we need to enact solutions to prevent gun violence, like the background check and red flag bills the Minnesota House approved this year.”
State Sen. Steve Cwodzinski, DFL-Eden Prairie, is out of town but spoke with Eden Prairie News by phone.
“I’m speechless. I don’t even know what to say,” Cwodzinski said. “Someday our grandchildren are going to be in awe that we allowed this to happen.”
He noted that constituents have asked him about the “red flag” and background check bills that were discussed during the legislative session but didn’t make it to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk.
“It’s so frustrating, as an elected official, the sense of ‘I wish we were doing what we should be doing so people can be safe,’” Cwodzkinski said.
Rally at the Capitol
Two gun violence prevention groups, Protect Minnesota and Minnesota Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, organized a rally called “Honor Them With Action” to honor recent victims with calls to action, demanding real gun reform by Congress and our state legislature,” a news release from the organizations says. The rally was on the south steps of the Minnesota State Capitol Building, 75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., from 7-8:30 p.m. on Aug. 7. Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan were on the list of people scheduled to speak at the event.
Sarah Black is a co-leader of the Eden Prairie chapter of Moms Demand Action and shared a statement with Eden Prairie News that expressed sadness and anger about the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio but also drew attention to other types of gun deaths.
“Although mass shootings grab headlines, there are 100 people who die in America every day by gun violence including suicide, domestic violence and unintentional discharge by children who find unsecured guns in cars and homes,” the statement says. “As a group, we would like the focus to be on common sense gun legislation like background checks on all gun sales, not just those through licensed sellers, and red flag laws that gives law enforcement the ability to protect those that are a danger to themselves and others by temporarily limiting their access to guns.”