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House committee votes to close gun show loophole

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A House committee passed a version of its background checks bill Thursday night. It extends background checks to private sales at gun shows.

The Star Tribune reports the bill passed 10-8.

The bill extends checks to private sales of handguns and semiautomatic, military-style assault weapons at gun shows. It would require buyers to show a permit to purchase or a permit to carry before the sale.

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

Forum Communications reported that the bill contains several noncontroversial provisions to keep guns out of the hands of people who are not supposed to own them.

A vigorous debate is expected when the full House takes up the issue, most likely in May.

Meanwhile, the Pioneer Press reports that Wisconsin Democrats introduced legislation Thursday to make it illegal to buy or transfer guns without a background check. That proposal faces an uphill battle in Madison, where Republicans are in the majority.

The Wisconsin proposal would cover transactions at gun shows, flea markets, or between individuals. Wisconsin requires people who purchase guns from federal licensed dealers to undergo background checks, but doesn't regulate private transactions. Sponsors said that loophole should be closed.

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