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Minnesota Senate resurrects noncontroversial gun-data bill

Posted by: Jim Ragsdale under Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans Updated: May 14, 2013 - 10:22 AM

The discussion about gun violence may not be over at the Minnesota Legislature.

The Senate resurrected a bill aimed at providing better data more quickly to the federal background checks system. It passed 15-2 in the Senate Finance Committee after GOP members were assured it had no effect on gun ownership or expanded background checks.

Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, sponsor of the provision, said he hopes to insert the provision into the public safety funding bill that is currently being discussed in conference committee.

Latz removed the only provision that attracted controversy -- to add certain felony convictions to the lists of "crimes of violence," which prohibits offenders from owning guns in the future.

Remaining portions of the bill involve transferring fingerprint records more quickly to the National Instant Background Check System (known as NICS); to more quickly submit mental health adjudication to NICS; speeding up entry of data on aliases into the state's offender database; more quickly submitting information about released offenders and sentencing; sending data to NICS about adults and juveniles charged with committing a crime of violence who have been put into a pretrial diversion program.

The gun debate fell apart May 1 when House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, announced that the House would pull the issue off the table. But Latz said he has hopes that the House would ultimately accept these provisions, which were sought by law enforcement officials.

Joe Olson, president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance and an influential advocate for gun-owners' rights, said he has no objections to the bill once the felony-conviction provision was removed.




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