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AUDIO: Anti-violence rally comes to Minnesota

AUDIO: Anti-violence rally comes to Minnesota Click to Enlarge Photo:

Jul 31, 2013 at 5:13 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KNSI) The national drive to end gun violence makes its way to Minnesota today, with a stop by the "No More Names" bus.

The bus began its trip June 14 in Newtown, Conn., six months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. At each stop, the names of all of the known gun-murder victims in the United States since the tragedy are read aloud. That number, even with incomplete data, is nearing 7,000, according to recent reports, said Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota.

"This is way, way out of proportion with what should be considered normal," she said. "There's just a huge difference in the amount of gun homicide in this country compared to other industrialized countries, and the difference is our gun laws are very, very weak. It's very easy for someone who shouldn't have a gun to get one."

Today's stop by the No More Names bus will be at the Federal Courthouse plaza in downtown Minneapolis. In all, the bus is traveling to 25 states in 100 days.

One of the best ways to reduce gun violence, Martens said, is by implementing universal background checks on gun sales, which she notes is an idea supported by a majority of residents across Minnesota and the nation.

"That's a very straightforward and a very effective way to reduce gun violence, and we can change that," she said. "It's within our power to reduce gun violence in this country and in our state, and we are obligated to do so. The devastation that is continuing is just unacceptable."

Background-check legislation was introduced both locally and federally in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, but the efforts to date have not won passage.

Heather Martens on gun-related shooting deaths in this country

Heather Martens says background checks would be a step in the right direction

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