House committee approves bill with gun show provision

Gun legislation
The Minnesota House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee Thursday, March 21, 2013, voted 10-8 to approve a bill that includes a background check requirement for buyers of firearms from unlicensed, private dealers at gun shows.
MPR Photo/Rupa Shenoy

A bill headed to Minnesota House floor would require background checks for people involved in private sales at gun shows.

The original bill, authored by Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, expanded the list of offenses that could disqualify someone from possessing a firearm and toughened penalties for providing guns to those legally prohibited from having them.

Dan Schoen, DFL-St Paul Park, added an amendment requiring people who purchase firearms from non-federally licensed dealers at gun shows to prove they have had a background check within the last year.

"It just asks the two parties to produce the document that says at least once a year you've had some sort of background check, meaning you went in, passed that check that you normally do when you go to Cabela's or anywhere else," Schoen said. "All you have to do is show it, and that suffices for the transaction."

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The House Public Safety Finance and Policy committee approved the amended bill, with one DFLer, John Ward of Baxter, joining seven Republicans in opposition.

Republican Rep. Tim Kelly of Red Wing said the amendment can be removed.

"We will suggest that the amendment come off so that we can all come together and we can all get agreement and we can pass this legislation," Kelly said.

The chair of the House Public Safety Finance and Policy committee Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, who wanted universal background checks, said the bill is a work in progress.