The Minnesota Legislature held several days of contentious hearings this winter on what changes to make in the state laws regulating guns. Now House and Senate leaders say there will be no changes made -- at least not this year.
House Speaker Paul Thissen said Wednesday that no gun bill will come up for a floor vote in the current session. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk later said that - given Thissen's decision - the Senate would not vote either.
The DFL party holds a majority in each legislative chamber but opposing factions have been unable to agree, particularly on whether to make criminal background checks mandatory for all gun purchases. Thissen says the inability to find common ground meant no gun bill had enough support to pass the House this year.
The Pioneer Press notes Thissen's decision came just as advocates of tighter restrictions on guns were gearing up for an end-of-the-session push for a stricter law.
Michael Paymar of St. Paul, who was leading that push in the House, tells the Star Tribune he's disappointed and angry with Thissen. Paymar says the speaker had promised that “he wanted to do something about gun violence. He committed to me we would have a vote, we would have a debate on the floor.”
Paymar chairs the committee that held three days of public hearings in February that were so packed, even the overflow rooms were overflowing.
Thissen and Bakk say say revisions to Minnesota's gun laws may have a better chance of passing in 2014.