Senate panel plans narrower look at guns

The Minnesota Senate will not wade into all of the same gun issues that a House committee took on earlier this month.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have a series of hearings on several proposed changes in state gun laws scheduled for Thursday and Friday. But the committee chairman announced today that proposed bans on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines will not be on the agenda. Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, said he will instead focus on a variety of proposals that would keep guns out of the hands of people that shouldn’t have them.

“I think most people agree that universal background checks is the first place we should start,” Latz said in a news release. “We need to focus on what we can accomplish right now to make our state safer. The outright banning of guns is a conversation that is more suited on the federal level.”

Latz added that it’s his goal to find effective solutions with common ground. He said his intent is to have an open conversation about the option, rather than fan the flames.”

In the House, Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, is the chief sponsor of bills that would ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. But no companion bills have been introduced in the Senate.