Just before bar close Saturday morning, shots rang out at the 400 Soundbar in downtown Minneapolis. Nine people were injured, including Linval Joseph, a defensive lineman the Vikings signed to a five-year, $31.5 million contract during the offseason. All are expected to survive.
Police say they believe the shooter was targeting a specific person, but no arrests had been made as of yesterday afternoon, Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder told us.
A few hours later, Minneapolis City Council member Jacob Frey responded by decrying gun violence in this Facebook post:
I woke up this morning to learn that last night gunshots were fired in Sound Bar injuring 9 (3 seriously hurt). While we will be closing Sound Bar indefinitely to investigate and conduct a licensing review and plan, this attacks just part of the problem. The big issue is gun violence, and the ease in purchasing a firearm.Reached for comment yesterday, Frey acknowledged that most legislative measures to crack down on gun violence "would be at the federal or state level," but said, "The impetus to see movement on this issue has got to come from the major cities... The cities, I believe, have to call out the lack of reason on the other side's arguments."
There is no reason we should not have extensive background checks before purchasing a gun, no need to be able to purchase guns every month with no waiting period, no need for semi automatic weapons on our streets, and no need to be able to unload a magazine clip of 30 plus rounds before reloading. I'm not talking about outlawing your father's hunting rifle (although I'm no hunter myself). I am talking about getting unchecked, people-killing weapons off the street and out of the clubs before more of this garbage happens.
Beyond lobbying, Frey said cities "can push gun shops, auctions, and dealers to do the right thing voluntarily, above and beyond the statutory requirements."
"There is no good argument that I have heard yet against conducting background checks on an individual that wants to purchase a gun," Frey told us. "To take it a step further in my mind, there's no reason that someone should have the ability to fire off 30 rounds before they need to reload. If you're hunting deer and you miss the first 29 times, you stink at hunting."
From a legal standpoint, Frey said the city was able to immediately close Soundbar, which is in his ward, thanks to language in city ordinance that gives officials authority to close a business "for the public health and welfare."
Asked whether he'd had any reason to believe something like this could happen at the club, Frey said, "I mean, the shooting itself was, I don't want to say out of nowhere... [but] shootings downtown are not the norm."
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"This was most definitely the exception to the rule, but there had been issues at Soundbar and I spoke with the owner just a few weeks before to go through some safety mechanisms that we needed to get in place immediately," Frey continued, citing the club's lack of private security guards, inadequate pat-down procedures, and its propensity to play loud music right up until bar close.
"It's my understanding [those measures] were in place, but clearly a gun got in anyway," Frey said.
We pressed Frey on the issue of whether it's fair to force Soundbar to close when the shooting probably could've happened at a handful of other downtown clubs that have been problem spots.
"Here's my stance: If you're a bar or club that is doing things right, that is complying with the code, that is obeying the settlement agreements that they enter into with the city, I'm going to be your biggest supporter," Frey said. "But the reality is, as a business owner downtown, you have to be able to control the atmosphere, and any business, especially downtown, doesn't operate in a vacuum -- there are external factors you have to account for. On the other side of it is, like I said, if anybody is under the impression that this is about anything other than gun violence... this is about gun violence, and the need for reform both at the local level and the state level is critical."
We asked Frey if he's considering bringing some sort of ordinance or resolution before the City Council as a response to last weekend's gun violence.
"You know, I could bring a resolution, but that won't do squat," he replied. "A resolution is like, 'Please stop shooting people' -- that's not going to help. We need action at the legislature and I'm going to be putting together a roundtable with community members on how we can affect things and meeting with our attorneys to see what we can do."
The Star Tribune reports that the 400 Soundbar's owner has already informed city officials he doesn't intend to reopen the club, which has a history of being the site of violent incidents.