Newsmakers: Sen. Bonnie Westlin Talks Gun Violence Prevention
Sen. Bonnie Westlin (DFL-Plymouth) is passionate about gun violence prevention and is one of the legislators behind the Extreme Risk Protection Order law that went into effect on Jan. 1.
“It’s really about saving lives,” said Westlin. “We know in so many cases especially where people are having thoughts of suicide that if we can remove firearms from that person’s possession, that we can often save lives.”
The legislation was authored in the Senate by Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) and co-authored by Sen. Alice Mann (DFL-Edina), Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope) and Westlin.
It gives family members and law enforcement an opportunity to intervene before a firearm can be used.
“The forms are on the website and people can access them at this point,” explained Westlin. “Basically, you file a petition, a hearing is held, and there’s a process in place that’s actually quite similar to the order of protection process.”
You can learn more here.
Westlin also attended a meeting at the White House on Dec. 13 about gun violence prevention.
“It’s really about establishing a partnership between the federal government and state and local authorities,” said Westlin. “So, it’s encouraging things like states should set up statewide offices for gun violence prevention or be looking at making good investments and evidence-based solutions to gun violence.”
Westlin says she will attend future meetings with state legislators about the issue.
She also plans on working on bills concerning lost and stolen firearms and safe storage this spring.
“I think gun violence continues to be top of mind for many people,” said Westlin.