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Continued: U.S. gun vote reverberates in St. Paul

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  • Last update: April 19, 2013 - 11:05 AM

Latz noted that a majority of the U.S. Senate actually favored background checks — just not enough to meet the 60-vote barrier to prevent a filibuster. He believes his stronger background checks bill eventually will get a floor vote and pass.

“I still believe we have the votes in the Minnesota Senate to pass a broader expansion of background checks to cover almost all private sales,” Latz said.

Dayton: ‘Life and death’

Before the U.S. Senate vote this week, Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking at the dedication of a memorial highway to slain Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker, gave background checks a ringing endorsement, citing polls showing strong public support.

“It’s a matter of policy, just trying to save lives,” Dayton said. “This is vitally important, this is life and death for innocent Minnesota citizens, for law enforcement officers like officer Decker and just for the basic cohesion of our society, which is seriously damaged any time one of the senseless murders of vast numbers of people is perpetrated. We owe it to ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, to do everything we possibly can, to prevent that from happening.”

A spokesman for Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said neither Swanson nor her office has taken a position on the issue. Swanson, a DFLer who serves as the state’s chief legal officer, was endorsed by the NRA and received its highest rating in her 2010 re-election.

Jim Ragsdale • 651-925-5042

  • gun bills in conflict

    House and Senate versions of anti-gun-violence bills are vastly different

    Senate bill (SF 458)

    Sponsor: Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park.

    • Requires background checks for all private sales of handguns and certain semi-automatic rifles, except for sales of those weapons those among relatives; does not apply to private sales of traditional hunting rifles. Internet or gun show sales would be subject to a background check by federal firearms dealer for a fee.

    • Allows law enforcement more discretion in denying permits to people with mental health hospitalizations or chemical dependency problems who have not been committed by a judge.

    • Makes it somewhat easier for law enforcement to deny permits to those they believed to be a danger to themselves or others.

    Status: Passed committee and awaits move to floor.

    House bill (HF 285)

    Sponsor: Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, substituting for original bill sponsored by Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul.

    What substitute bill does:

    • In private sales of handguns and certain semiautomatic rifles at gun shows, the buyer would be required to show the seller a valid permit. No third party would be required to inspect the permit or conduct a check. No such requirements were proposed for other private sales, such as those arranged over the Internet.

    • Requires information about mental health commitments to be submitted more quickly to federal background check system.


    Passed committee and awaits move to floor.

    How they voted

    A proposal for expanded background checks that would have included sales at gun shows and on the Internet was narrowly rejected in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, falling short of the 60-vote supermajority the two parties agreed would be required.

    Here is how Minnesota’s two U.S. Senators voted.

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Yes

    Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Yes

    Franken and Klobuchar also voted Yes on amendments that would have restricted the sale of assault weapons and large-capacity magazine ammunitions. Both measures failed.

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