As part of our Transforming Justice coverage, we are exploring how our readers feel about public safety and the prevalence of gun violence in the country, especially since the pandemic hit. This is a brief report of what we have been learning.
Guns & Public Safety
In our public safety survey this summer, we asked readers: “When you think about public safety, what are your greatest fears personally?” Some of your responses:
- “Not having any community safety structures to call upon [such as for] gender-based violence.”
- “My greatest fear is that we as a society continue to embrace a public safety model focused on funding policing and incarceration rather than meeting the basic needs (housing, food, jobs, mental and physical healthcare) of all the inhabitants of our country.”
The responses to guns for personal safety were mixed, partly based on race and region:
- BIPOC women explained they did not feel comfortable or safe around guns because of past and potential violent encounters. They reported being fearful of both strangers and law enforcement.
- Women from rural Minnesota explain they carry guns for personal protection (e.g., confronting wild animals).
In the coming months, Minnesota Women’s Press will be engaged in more statewide conversations about fear, public safety, equity, justice, trauma, healing, and ecosystems. Please sign up for any of our primary news alerts to be engaged with us as we develop more community conversations based on the stories and solutions we are focused on.
Disparities in Stress About Safety
The American Public Media Research Lab recently conducted a survey of Minnesotans and found that only 47 percent of BIPOC women feel safe walking alone in their neighborhood.
- A strong majority of white Minnesotans (71 percent) report that they trust the police in Minnesota to do what is right just about always or most of the time, compared to only 43 percent of BIPOC Minnesotans. Among BIPOC Minnesotans, the percentage trusting the police varies: 60 percent among Asians, 51 percent among Latinx, 43 percent among Indigenous, and 21 percent among Black Minnesotans.
- Over half of Indigenous and Black Minnesotan adults report that they have personally experienced police discrimination due to their race or ethnicity. This compares to 30 percent of Latinx Minnesotans, 24 percent of Asian Minnesotans, and 5 percent of white Minnesotans.
- Sixty-five percent of white Minnesotans think that the Minnesota courts and justice system just about always or most of the time treat members of their racial group fairly compared to slightly more than one-fifth of BIPOC Minnesotans (22 percent). Among BIPOC Minnesotans, the percentage indicating that they typically receive fair treatment by the courts ranges from 34 percent among Asians and 27 percent among Latinx Minnesotans, to only 11 percent of Black and 10 percent of Indigenous Minnesotans.
- Read this brief story about gun violence data from The Atlantic
There are 301,268 Minnesotans who have a permit to carry a firearm in public (Minnesota Department of Public Safety). The Minnesota State Fair and Ramsey County faced a lawsuit from the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus arguing for their rights to bear arms on the fairgrounds.