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October 25, 2014

Guns: has Newtown shooting changed Minnesota’s attitude?

As a Minnesota House committee prepares for three days of hearings on proposals to change the state’s gun laws, the panel’s chairman says there’s been a “sea change” in the readiness to consider such legislation.

St. Paul DFLer Michael Paymar tells ABC Newspapers rural lawmakers in particular have softened their opposition to revisiting gun laws in the wake of last month’s massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

Of course, a willingness to talk about changes does not ensure that a bill will reach the governor’s desk. The National Rifle Association said Tuesday it will be active at the Minnesota Capitol, lobbying against more stringent background checks or limits on assault weapons among other possible changes.

Next week will be a busy one for Paymar and his colleagues on the Public Safety Committee. Their daytime hearings will likely be followed by public testimony in the evenings. The committee has at least 10 different measures to consider.

President Obama this week met with law enforcement leaders including Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, as he seeks to build support for gun violence legislation in Washington. Obama plans to be in Minneapolis on Monday, although the focus of his visit was not immediately clear.