ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota lawmaker has finished a 24-hour sit-in at the State Capitol to protest lack of action on gun safety bills.
Democratic State Representative Erin Maye Quade said Wednesday she hopes her unusual vigil will spark a vote. Maye Quade took an unusual path to get out her message on gun violence.
But Wednesday night, it’s not clear whether her fellow lawmakers heard it.
Maye Quade’s 24-hour protest began Tuesday, and lasted all night. Reading names of shooting victims.
She continued her vigil through a regular Wednesday session, emerging finally to cheers and tears of supporters.
“Keep doing what you’re doing, because if they don’t hear it in here, they’ll hear it in November,” Maye Quade said.
Maye Quade is protesting lack of action on two bills: Universal background checks for all gun purchasers, and letting police take guns from people who are mentally ill and dangerous.
Fellow House members applauded Maye Quade’s protest, though the issue is politically divisive. The Republican House Speaker revealing private talks are underway for a possible vote.
“I hope that there is. I think there will be. I think there can be. I don’t know what it looks like yet. I know those conversations are ongoing,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt said.
A recent Star Tribune poll shows 90 percent of Minnesotans support gun restrictions like background checks, and one State Senator says he’ll try to force a vote Thursday.
“Death is not a partisan issue. If you’re a victim you don’t usually ask ‘what’s your political party affiliation?'” Sen. Ron Latz of St. Louis Park said.
Maye Quade says her 24-hour vigil was a message worth getting out.
“There have been walkouts. There have been marches. There have been demonstrations. There have been sit-ins. There have been polls. There have been letters, rallies. I don’t think Minnesotans know what else to do,” Maye Quade said.
It’s highly unusual for issues this controversial to get a hearing, let alone a vote, with only a few weeks left in the legislative session. With the national focus on mass shootings, gun safety supporters are hoping this year will be different.