The Senate Judiciary Committee easily passed the gun bill, version two, on Thursday.

The bill is an attempt to improve current background checks by more efficiently transferring state records to the National Instant Criminal Background Checks system, known as NICS.

Fingerprint records, mental health hospital commitments and new felony convictions would be reported more quickly under the bill, sponsored by the committee chairman, Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park.

In addition, the bill, Senate File 235, would include more offenses under the category of "crimes of violence," which carry lifetime bans on weapons possession. Among those offenses are felony 5th degree assault and domestic assault by strangulation.

The bill is was passed on a unanimous voice vote and sent on to the Senate Finance Committee.

Latz's major gun violence bill, Senate File 458, which provides for universal background checks for all private sales, passed Latz's committee on a party-line vote but remains idled in the Senate Rules committee. It is far stronger than the House version, which only provides for honor-system background checks for private sales at gun shows.

Latz said discussions are continuing among Senate leaders about what to do with the larger bill, and whether to proceed even though the House was unable to pass the stronger Senate language in committee.