Minn. House Committee Sets Aside Background Check Bills

Created: March 01, 2018 03:34 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A pair Democratic-backed bills calling for expanding background checks to all gun sales in Minnesota was tabled in a House committee on a near-party line vote.

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The GOP-majority Public Safety Committee tabled both bills, with opponents questioning whether it would be effective. Supporters argued it could keep potentially dangerous people from acquiring guns via private sales.

The bill was one of two bills pushed by Democrats to get a hearing Thursday. As lawmakers considered the legislation, hundreds of citizens on both sides of the issue packed the halls of the Capitol seeking to influence legislators.

Efforts to curb gun violence and gun access have gained momentum nationwide after the shootings last month in Florida that killed 17 students and teachers, but they face stiff opposition in Minnesota's GOP-controlled Legislature.

Chairman Brian Johnson says the bills will remain in the committee. He didn't say if they would be heard at a later date.

Democratic lawmakers and proponents of stronger gun laws say their efforts aren't over. St. Paul Rep. Dave Pinto told reporters after the committee meeting that he plans to tweak his bills in hopes of getting another hearing.

Moms Demand Action Minnesota chapter leader Erin Zamoff says if lawmakers don't vote for stricter gun laws, "then we'll vote in people who do."

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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