Lawmaker nears end of 24-hour sit-in protest calling for gun laws

Rep. Erin Maye Quade is critical of the inactivity in the Minnesota Legislature.
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A Minnesota lawmaker is nearing the end of a 24-hour sit-in protest at the State Capitol, calling out her fellow politicians for their inactivity over gun control bills.

Multiple bills proposing changes to the state's gun laws have been proposed since the Feb. 14 massacre at a school in Parkland, Florida, but all have stalled before reaching the House or Senate for a full vote.

Rep. Erin Maye Quade (D–Apple Valley) says this is unacceptable given that a recent poll by the Star Tribune has found that 90 percent of Minnesotans are in favor of criminal background checks on all gun sales – which was one of the bills proposed this session.

As such, she started a sit-in protest on Tuesday, during which she shared the stories of "victims & survivors that deserve to be told in this chamber."

She has been joined by a rolling selection of her fellow lawmakers, who have tagged in and out as the protest unfolded. Among those joining her at various stages have been Reps. Ilhan Omar, Karen Clark and Raymond Dehn.

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Any proposed gun bill that does make it to the House and the Senate floor would have a tough time passing, given that the Republican Party has a majority in both branches of the Legislature, and some rural Democrats would potentially vote against new gun laws.

The Pioneer Press notes that Rep. Quade's protest isn't an official filibuster as she started it after the Legislature recessed on Tuesday afternoon. Nor is it a public protest, as the Capitol doors are locked each evening when no meetings are happening.

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