President Obama visited Minneapolis on Monday to meet with local law enforcement officials and community leaders in a discussion about gun control, the Pioneer Press reports.
Obama's visit is part of his recent push for stricter gun control laws in the wake of a December shooting in Newtown, Conn. that left over twenty elementary school students and teachers dead. In a speech to an invited group at the Minneapolis Police Department's Special Operations Center, Obama congratulated Minneapolis for the progress the city has made in reducing youth gun violence. "You've shown that progress is possible," Obama said in a report from the Star Tribune.
But Obama's visit served as more than just a pat on the back for MInneapolis' progress - it served as a reminder of recent incidents of gun violence in the state as well.
Among those invited to a private roundtable with the president – which included Hennepin County Sherrif Rich Stanek, MInneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak – was John Souter, the only survivor of a shooting at Minneapolis' Accent Signage last September, and Sami Rahamim, the son of Accent owner Reuven Rahamim. In addition, the site of Obama's visit was located just four blocks away from where a 5-year-old boy was killed by gunfire during a gang dispute last summer.
Obama's Minneapolis visit was his first gun-control centered event outside of Washington D.C., a move that drew praise from gun-control advocates, including Souter. "If we don't have the moral courage to support the president of the United States, shame on us," Souter said.