MN Background Check Bill Aims To Fix Gaps, Not Expand

By KBJR News 1

March 6, 2013 Updated Mar 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The bill's authors say rather than expanding to a universal background check system, her measure fixes problems with the current system.

Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) says her proposal increases penalties for those who illegally possess firearms and makes sure those with mental health issues are included in the background check system.

The bill has more than 70 authors and co-authors and has support from the Minnesota Sheriff's Association and the National Rifle Association.

A Universal Background check, which has been met with a lot of opposition, would require a check on all firearm purchases, not just some.

Supporters of Rep. Hilstrom's bill say it won't infringe on law abiding citizens.

"This bill is the only bill that protects second amendment rights while strengthening background checks done under the existing law, ensuring those legally prohibited from owning and purchasing a gun don't have access to guns," said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.

"There is nothing in here that gun owners have to fear about their rights and what we came to do today is not to beat up on any party or any bill," said Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder).

Rep. Hilstrom said she's optimistic her bill will pass.

Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul) has his own gun control proposal on the table.

He said he's disappointed with Rep. Hilstrom's bill, referring to it as a 'NRA bill', because he feels it's out of step with what mainstream Minnesotans want.

He said the bill won't stop him from pushing his Gun Violence Prevention Act, which supports universal background checks.

Kevin Jacobsen
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