Barack Obama Reminds Americans Of The Power Of Voting After Gun Safety Rules Enacted


Democratic state officials in Minnesota serving in both the legislature and governor’s mansion have recently attracted a lot of attention for their rapidly materializing slate of constructive policies, from protections for abortion rights and gender-affirming care to new safety measures around guns, like universal background checks for firearm purchases and red flag laws. They even moved to legalize recreational cannabis, delivering a criminal justice win.

Former President Barack Obama was paying attention. Democratic progress in Minnesota and elsewhere was made possible because of victories seen last year in the midterm elections, when that state’s Democrats took unified control of the state’s legislature and governorship. They’ve expanded voting rights as well, including with the implementation of a new period for voting early and in person for Minnesota’s residents and an expansion of what can be used for proving residency to include student IDs. They even approved joining an agreement to give their state’s electoral votes to the national winner instead of going by state, though the arrangement doesn’t take effect until participating jurisdictions represent a majority of the country’s electors.

“If you need a reminder that elections have consequences, check out what’s happening in Minnesota,” Obama said on Twitter. “Since [the 2022 midterms], Minnesota has made progress on a whole host of issues – from protecting abortion rights and new gun safety measures to expanding access to the ballot and reducing child poverty. These laws will make a real difference in the lives of Minnesotans. It’s a reminder that, while the pace of change can often be slow, a small group of people can still help us take a giant leap forward – but only if we vote.”

One of Minnesota’s state Senate seats that gave Democrats their unified control was won by about 320 votes — and their state Senate majority puts them just a seat ahead of Republicans, meaning those 321 votes switched the path the entire state was traversing.

Michigan has seen similar progress after Democrats also nabbed unified legislative and gubernatorial control last year. Michigan officials have, for instance, also taken sweeping action to protect abortion and enacted both universal background checks for gun sales and their own red flag laws, which let third parties pursue temporary limits from courts on access to guns for individuals suspected of posing a danger.