House panel takes up background checks for guns

5:23 AM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota House lawmakers are weighing whether to expand background checks for firearm purchases, a critical step in whether that measure can pass and become law.

The House Public Safety and Finance Committee was set Tuesday to vote on changes to the state's gun laws, including expanding background checks to nearly all gun sales. It has been criticized by Republicans and rural Democrats, who favor competing legislation backed by gun rights advocates that would improve but not expand the current system.

Rep. Michael Paymar, a St. Paul Democrat, has made background checks the heart of his bill. He says he pulled provisions from the alternate plan in an effort to compromise.

A Senate panel passed a bill with universal background checks last week on a party-line vote, with all Republicans opposed.

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