The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 19, 2013

Gun vote looms in Minnesota and Biden's interested

(Continued)

ST. PAUL —

Lawmakers in Colorado passed laws last week expanding background checks to private transfers and online gun sales and banning ammunition magazines with more than 15 rounds.

But the issue has divided the Democrats in control of Minnesota's government along geographical lines, with broader restrictions a tough sell for rural members. After Paymar and the Democrat leading the charge on gun laws in the Senate dropped assault weapons and high-capacity magazines from their bills, the issue has become a tug-of-war on background checks.

Testifiers made their case for and against background checks for the last time Tuesday ahead of the committee's vote.

"If we can keep as many guns off the streets that are illegally going to our young people as possible, it would save lives," said Gene Martin, a pastor at Joint Heirs with Christ Faith International in north Minneapolis.

Opponents like NRA lobbyist Chris Rager said that Paymar's bill would punish law-abiding gun owners rather than targeting criminals. He called on Paymar to focus on an alternate plan that supporters say would improve — but not expand — the state's current background check system.

That bill, backed by the NRA and Minnesota groups, would require the state to send mental health commitment information to the national database of people who can't legally own a gun and require the state to send all information to that database faster.

It would also add to the parameters of what would disqualify someone from legally owning a gun and increase penalties for straw purchases, in which an eligible person buys a weapon for someone who legally cannot.

Paymar said he will likely pull several measures from the alternate plan into his own bill in an effort to compromise.

But for the Republicans on the committee, universal background checks are a non-starter. Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, likened Paymar's proposal to "dressing up a pig."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Congress reaches agreement on VA reform With days left before the August break, congressional leaders unveiled a $17 billion bipartisan compromise Monday to fix the tattered Department of Veterans Affairs.

    July 28, 2014

  • Residency case targets state GOP legislator A residency dispute involving a Minnesota legislator has landed in court and could put a Republican-held seat in contention at a time when the party is fighting to wrest chamber control from Democrats.

    July 28, 2014

  • 8,000 get false notice of health care cancellation ST. PAUL — More than 8,000 low-income Minnesotans received erroneous notices that their health coverage would be temporarily canceled if they don't pay up. A July 17 notice warned MinnesotaCare subscribers that they faced a four-month coverage locko

    July 28, 2014

  • ND deputy hurt in scuffle Suspect charged with assaulting, trying to disarm law officer

    July 28, 2014

  • Fergus Falls plans deer hunt Hunters are selected by a lottery, pay $20 fee

    July 28, 2014

  • Man killed in home invasion Homeowner's son in Ray, Minn., fires fatal shot

    July 28, 2014

  • Charges filed in July 8 fatal Dodge Center woman criminally charged in fatal car crash

    July 28, 2014

  • American doctor in Africa gets treatment for Ebola BOONE, N.C. (AP) — An American doctor infected with the deadly Ebola disease received intensive treatment Sunday in West Africa and was in stable condition, talking to his medical team and working on his computer, a spokeswoman for an aid group said.

    July 27, 2014

  • Salmonella Outbreak Trial [Duplicate] Trial in salmonella outbreak to start in Georgia ATLANTA (AP) — Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georg

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitfalls emerge in health insurance renewals WASHINGTON — For the 8 million people who persevered through all the technical travails in the new health insurance exchanges and managed to sign up for coverage in 2014, their policies will probably automatically renew come November when open enroll

    July 27, 2014