Minnesota sheriffs issued more than 30,000 gun permits last year — that’s 10,000 more than the year before.

The anguish over Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and here in the Twin Cities with the Accent Signage shooting has fueled an unprecedented arms race.

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Many of those racing to get permits are convinced tougher gun laws are around the corner. But the story at the Minnesota capital is one being seen around the nation: tougher gun control measures are stalling.

It appears gun rights advocates have the upper hand. They are those who will argue that with all those newly armed citizens we are a safer society.

Those that got permits had to pass background checks. But with that many permits issued there have to be people who slipped through the cracks. There are certainly people who are packing right now who are troubled, angry, and even mentally ill.

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The arms race is not just — as some in the Twin Cities like to think — a rural phenomenon.

It is your next door neighbor in the suburbs, in the city, at the corner store. Minnesotans need to ask themselves if that is the way they want it.

Is an increasingly armed society one that is truly safer?

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Or is it one that is far more dangerous, with more mass shootings on the horizon?

Esme Murphy