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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • House DFLer, Paymar, blasts speaker, Thissen, for dropping gun bill

  • Paymar said he was ready to drop the effort a month ago, but that Thissen urged him to press forward.
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  • The DFL state representative who pushed expanded background checks for Minnesota gun buyers said Thursday that he's angry with his fellow Democrat, House Speaker Paul Thissen, for shelving the bill this year.
    "He said he hoped we could do something about gun violence this legislative session and he promised we would have a debate on the issue, and a vote on the issue, and we didn't get it," said Rep. Michael Paymar of St. Paul, sponsor of the House bill to extend the state's gun purchase background check requirements to gun shows.
    That bill faced opposition from Republicans and a skeptical reception from rural House Democrats, who represent districts where gun ownership is more frequent.
    Paymar said he was ready to drop the effort a month ago, but that Thissen urged him to press forward.
    "He convinced me, he asked me to keep it going," Paymar said.
    Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, acknowledged as much.
    "I was still hopeful to be able to reach a compromise between the two sides," he said, but realized in recent days that was not possible as the legislative session's May 20 end date approaches. Thissen said Paymar is justified in his disappointment and that he hopes gun control supporters keep pushing the issue in the 2014 session.
    Paymar said he viewed that as likely. He urged allies to use the coming months to build greater support and to pressure Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

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