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New gun bill has 73 co-sponsors, NRA backing; critics call it a cop-out

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A new gun bill introduced at the Minnesota Capitol is supported by a majority of House members and by the National Rifle Association.

Supporters call it a compromise measure and say it's the only gun bill with enough support for approval at the Legislature.

But advocates of stricter controls on guns complain that the bill does little, with one telling Fox 9 it's a cop out.

The bill introduced by Rep. Debra Hillstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) adds to the list of felony crimes that make people ineligible to own guns. It also strengthens data collection and sharing in criminal background checks. It does not, however, make those checks mandatory for all gun purchases.

Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, tells Politics in Minnesota that approving a bill without universal background checks would be "a major failing for all victims of gun violence." Latz presided over gun hearings in the Senate and says he's working on putting together his own bill.

The Representative who chaired House hearings, Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul), does not support the new bill. Paymar tells MPR he's forging ahead with his own plan, which does include universal background checks. Paymar says law enforcement leaders and -- according to a recent poll -- a majority of Minnesotans support universal background checks.

As an appendix to the gun debate, MPR also put together a map showing which Minnesota counties have issued the most handgun permits per resident. Northeastern and north central counties lead the way.

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