SAINT PAUL— Mayor Carter, in partnership with Ward 2 Councilmember Rebecca Noecker, advanced an amendment to chapter 225 of the Saint Paul Legislative Code on weapons discharge to require firearms be safely stored and secured, with ammunition stored separately, to reduce incidents of harm caused by unlawful discharge of unsecured firearms. The proposed amendment will come before the Council at its next meeting on Wednesday, April 19.
“Loose guns pose a danger to our entire community,” said Mayor Carter. “Responsible gun owners must do their part to prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands.”
Each year in Minnesota, more than 460 people lose their lives to gun violence, and approximately 351 die by firearm suicide. In Saint Paul, injuries and homicides resulting directly and indirectly from firearm discharges have risen from 191 wounds and 29 homicides in 2020, to 205 wounds and 30 homicides in 2021. Last year, the number rose again to 217 wounds and 32 homicides. Since 2020, there have been 13 firearm incidents in Saint Paul schools.
“Last year, the Mayor asked that we consider actions that would reduce the number of guns stolen in our community and reduce the number of shots fired in our neighborhoods. This is especially important now that firearms are the leading cause of death for children in our country,” said Councilmember Noecker. “I am happy to partner with Moms Demand Action and my colleagues, Jane Prince and Nelsie Yang, to bring this critical next step to the City Council.”
Unsecured firearms have placed an additional strain on Saint Paul officers, who, since 2020, responded to over 5,000 calls for service where a firearm was reported to have been discharged. During the same timeframe, Saint Paul Police have recovered 1,902 firearms, 150 of which were stolen, with 97 stolen from unattended vehicles.
“Securing stored firearms with a locking device is an obvious step that we can take to prevent possible tragedy,” said Saint Paul Police Chief Axel Henry. “We are hopeful that this amendment to the City’s unlawful discharge ordinance will help prevent unsecured firearms from being accessed by children or used in suicide or criminal activity.”
The proposed amendment affirms the rights of gun owners and further encourages responsible gun ownership to reduce the devastating impact that unsecured firearms have on our families and young people.
Free firearm locks are available for residents through the Saint Paul Police Department, or by visiting the Ramsey County Gun Safety Initiative website, or filling out the Minnesota Department of Public Safety request form.