Minnesota gun control bill aims to close sales loophole

  • Article by: BOB VON STERNBERG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 19, 2009 - 12:21 PM

Gun control advocates are taking another stab at changing a state law that allows people to buy handguns and assault rifles without a background check from unlicensed dealers.

A similar bill got nowhere in the legislature last year, but chief sponsor Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, said he hopes tweaks in the bill's language will satisfy the measure's opponents.

"It's a good bill, a simple one designed to keep dangerous guns out of the hands of dangerous people," Paymar said.

The bill would close the so-called "gun show/Internet loophole." It would prohibit private sales of pistols or assault weapons unless the buyer or seller was a federally licensed dealer, or used a licensed dealer to transfer the weapon. That includes sales at garage and estate sales and over the Internet, which are currently exempt from background checks.

The bill is designed to block gun sales to convicted felons, people with a record of domestic abuse and those suffering from mental illness by requiring a background check that would reveal such people may not legally buy a gun, Paymar said.

Language in the bill that would have included private gun transactions between family members has been dropped from the legislation, he said.

The bill, which is to be introduced today, will be discussed at a news conference this afternoon held by Paymar, Citizens for a Safer Minnesota and the Peace Foundation of North Minneapolis.

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