Minn. gun debate moves to state Senate

Advocates on both sides of the gun debate will gather at the State Capitol this week when the Minnesota Senate holds a series of hearings on proposed legislation.

The Senate Judiciary committee hearings Thursday and Friday will look a lot like the recent House hearings on similar bills. There are already Senate bills to toughen gun permit screening, prohibit unlicensed sales of some guns and prevent more felons from owning guns. Other bills are designed to protect gun owners from changes in federal law.

Sen. Ron Latz of St. Louis Park, the committee chairman, said he plans to proceed deliberately and carefully.

"The tone I'm trying to set is not one of fanning the flames but rather gathering information, being willing and open to consideration of all the proposals that come before us," he said.

Senate Republican Minority leader David Hann of Eden Prairie said he's been hearing from a lot of concerned gun owners.

"I've gotten quite a lot of correspondence on the gun issue," he said. "It's been about 5-1 people writing about concerns of having Second Amendment rights be eroded by the bills that have been introduced."

Latz said the committee won't vote this week on any of the gun bills. He said those decisions will come later in the session.

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