Minnesota gun data changes part of final package
- Blog Post by: Jim Ragsdale
- May 17, 2013 - 3:17 PM
The Legislature's emotional debate over gun violence has yielded a modest package of changes.
The House and Senate have passed a public safety finance bill aimed at improving the state's transfer of data to the National Instant Background Checks system, known as NICS.
This was the only area in which gun-rights supporters and gun-control activists could agree.
Rep. Debra Hillstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, chair of the House Judiciary Finance and Policy Committee, said a key area involves mental health commitments dating back to 1994.
"The actual background checks system is missing some pieces," she said. "None of that information has ever been sent to the background checks system."
The bill spends $1 million to examine the records for the data and report it to the NICS system. "Sixty-seven thousand records are missing," she said.
"We're going to have staff go out to the courthouses, pull these files, they're going to look through them .. make them electronic ... and they're going to send them to the NICS system," Hillstrom said.
The bill also speeds up the reporting of criminal courts information that would affect a person's ability to own a gun -- either to restrict or restore the right, she said.
The Legislature held extensive hearings on gun violence this year and focused on a plan to expand background checks to most private sales. That was fought by the NRA and proved unpopular in the House, and Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, decided to pull it off the agenda.
© 2013 Star Tribune