St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A gun control bill that would impose universal background checks is now headed for a full senate vote.
A panel OK'ed the latest of several different measures Thursday following a hearing in St. Paul.
Right now there are a total of four bills running the course at the Capitol.
While they essentially all have to do with beefing up background checks, they certainly have their differences.
There are two competing bills in the House.
One, known as the Gun Violence Prevention Act, is authored by Representative Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul).
It supports universal background checks which would require checks on everyone who purchases firearms.
It also strengthens penalties for felons caught with a gun.
The other bill in the house aims to fix the gaps in the current background checks in the state.
It's authored by Representative Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) along with support from 70 co-authors and has the backing of the national rifle association.
This bill also increases punishment for felons in possession of a firearm.
The opposition has called this a watered down bill.
The first vote is set for the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.
The bill passed by a Senate panel Thursday is similar to the Rep. Hilstrom bill but expands universal background checks.
Author Senator Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) says his bill is a compromise with competing legislation.
"If we really are serious about reducing gun violence in our state this is Senator Latz's course of universal backgrounds, backgrounds required on all transaction of handguns is the way to do that," said Dennis Flaherty, director of Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.
"This Latz bill will do nothing to prevent crime, nothing t.o prevent violence. What it will do is impose additional penalties, restrictions and infringements on the law abiding who aren't the problem anyway," said Andrew Rothman, vice president for the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance.
Senator Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen) also has a bill on the table which does not include universal background checks.
Proposals earlier in the session included banning assault-style weapons and imposing background checks on purchases of body armor. Those have since been taken off the table.
Full text of proposed gun control bills
Rep. Michael Paymar HF 237
Rep. Debra Hilstrom HF 1325
Sen. Ron Latz SF 548
Sen. Julianne Ortmann SF 1359