House panel passes background checks at gun shows 22 Mar 13

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – A House panel has passed a bill that would require background checks for firearm sales at gun shows, but that measure may still get trimmed down before becoming Minnesota law.

The House Public Safety Committee endorsed legislation Thursday night on a 10-8 vote, with one Democrat, Representative John Ward of Baxter, joining all Republicans to oppose the bill. The bill also includes provisions to improve information the state sends to a national background check database and help county attorneys crack down on illegal gun owners.

Ward’s “no” vote illustrates the political difficulty of revising gun laws. He and other rural Democrats say they won’t support any expansion of the state’s current background check system.

Gun discussions will be on pause for weeks as legislators’ attention turns to the state budget.