ST. PAUL, Minn. - State agencies will be handing out free gun locks at the Minnesota State Fair.
It's part of “Make Minnesota Safe & Secure,” an initiative spearheaded by Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan to ensure every gun owner in Minnesota has a gun lock to help store firearms in a safe and secure manner.
“As a veteran and lifelong hunter, I am committed to safe and responsible gun ownership,” says Governor Walz. “By making gun locks free and accessible at the Minnesota State Fair, we are helping more gun owners keep themselves, their loved ones, and their communities safe.”
The initiative, which is part of a $1 million investment in gun safety paid for with federal American Rescue Plan funds, includes the departments of public safety, health, agriculture, natural resources, veterans affairs and other state agencies.
“Last year, our state experienced an alarming increase in aggravated assaults and murders—most committed with a firearm,” says Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety John Harrington. “We also saw more than 1,700 guns stolen, and the thefts and shootings aren’t just occurring in large cities. They’re happening across the state. Our goal is for all Minnesota gun owners to understand how and why to use gun locks and to get a gun lock into the hands of every gun owner who doesn’t already have one—and there’s no better place to start than the Great Minnesota Get-Together."
Information about where to find the gun locks at the Fair is available at SafeAndSecureMN.org.
The Minnesota Department of Health says in 2020:
- There were 513 firearm-related deaths in Minnesota
- 69 percent of firearms deaths were suicides, 26.9 percent were homicides
- 89.3 percent of the decedents were male
- 28 Minnesotans under the age of 18 lost their lives to firearms, a 75 percent increase over 2010.
“Gun violence is a serious public health challenge for our state,” says Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “It is a leading cause of premature death in the form of homicides and suicides, and these deaths take a tremendous toll on the families left behind. Promoting the safe storage of firearms is one promising strategy communities and gun owners can employ to help prevent gun-related deaths and injuries, and we thank our partners in public safety for their work in this area.”