MN Senate committee passes gun bill expanding background checks - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Minn. Senate committee passes gun bill expanding background checks

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The gun debate is a contentious one, and Thursday night saw a lot of heated debate as the Senate Judiciary Committee considered a bill to expand background checks in Minnesota.

Late in the evening, the committee voted 5-3 in favor of the law, which will now head to the floor of the Minnesota Senate for a full vote; however, it took a lot of compromise and debate to reach this point.

Many insiders saw the hearing as a do-or-die moment for the measure, which is competing against another gun control bill that earned the support of the NRA. The other bill does not address or expand background checks.

Democratic Sen. Ron Latz, who introduced the proposal, compromised to a certain degree -- taking bits and pieces from the competing bill introduced by Republican Sen. Julianne Ortman to get his through the vote.

"You hijacked my bill," she said to Latz, describing the combination as a "hostile takeover."

Latz's version expands background checks by making them universal and requiring more personal information be added to the state's current system.

The bill also establishes stiffer penalties for those who sell guns to unqualified buyers and gives prosecutors more tools to help crack down on those who own guns illegally.

As usual, the hearing drew passionate supporters from both sides of the issue, including the son of a man who was killed in the Accent Signage shooting.

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