ST. PAUL, Minn. - The national debate over guns has come to Minnesota's Capitol as lawmakers begin marathon hearings on a dozen proposed changes to state gun laws.
A huge crowd turned out Tuesday at the House Public Safety Committee's first of three days of hearings on gun bills. Interested people filled the hearing room, an overflow room and the hallway outside.
The first bill to be discussed was one that requires universal background checks for gun buyers and more mental health screening for handgun permit applicants.
A National Rifle Association lobbyist testified against both those proposals.
A second hearing will be held at the Captiol at 6 p.m. Tuesday night.
St. Paul Democrat Rep. Michael Paymar plans to merge a number of gun proposals into one bill he says the full House will vote on later in February.
Gov. Mark Dayton says any changes to gun laws will need backing from rural lawmakers to get his support.
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