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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Those of us with loving and supportive relationships find it heartbreaking to consider that so many people live with relationships that are traumatizing and dangerous, and that may last for years. The statistics tell a terrible tale. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in five women and one in seven men will experience severe physical violence in their lifetimes from an intimate partner. Moreover, Everytown For Gun Safety reports that if a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, the likelihood of homicide increases five fold.

In Minnesota, the ability of victims to help themselves is being undermined by the refusal of majority leadership in the Senate to consider legislation that was passed in the House to provide for criminal background checks on all gun sales. Under our current laws, a person with a domestic violence conviction or a restraining order, is required to surrender their firearms. However, due to loopholes in our current statutes that same individual can turn right around and buy a gun from an unlicensed dealer or individual at a gun show, online, or in person, no questions asked. This is senseless, and has led to deadly consequences.

It is past time to demand that our lawmakers close background check loopholes to help stop this most tragic outcome of abusive relationships. We owe it to those who are hurting to call Senate leader Paul Gazelka (651-296-4875), and tell him to pass this legislation.

John Barden

Credit River

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