GUN HEARINGS DAY 2: Military-style weapons, magazine capacity - KMSP-TV

GUN HEARINGS DAY 2: Military-style weapons, magazine capacity

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will deliver his annual State of the State address. Wednesday night, but the most attention will likely be in the lower levels of the Capitol for the second day of control hearings.

Hearings on two of the most-controversial bills began at 10 a.m. Wednesday: one aimed at banning military-style or "assault" weapons, and the other banning high-capacity magazines and ammunition clips.

Once again, huge crowds of people hoping to testify turned out. People waited in line for hours on Tuesday to be heard and to hear what lawmakers want to change in the twelve bills currently under consideration.

On Wednesday, opponents of the assault weapon ban brought in a gun that would be band under the order to try and illustrate why they believe military-style weapons are no different than a hunting rifle.

"What might surprise you is that these two firearms are exactly the same firearm," said Rob Doar, of the Gun Owner's Civil Rights Alliance. "The only thing that is different between these two rifles is entirely cosmetic."

Yet, supporters of the plan saw strong advocating from the lead FBI investigator involved in the Red Lake School shooting in 2005.

"To me, who has held the bodies of dead children and teachers and seen my fellow friends in law enforcement slain, it is simply a moral issue," former FBI agent John Egelhof said. "These weapons and components have not one legitimate use outside the battlefield or in the hands of a police officer."

No vote was taken on the measure, but it will be considered for inclusion in a large omnibus bill expected at the end of the month.

The two issues on Tuesday were making penalties tougher on those who bring a gun onto school ground -- even for those who have permits -- and to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who haven't been committed or been in any other kind of trouble.

One proposal would allow them to voluntarily turn-in their weapons. Another would make it a felony for buyers to lie about a stolen gun.

"There are loopholes in this state and across the country in gun shows and Internet sales and private sales that need to be plugged," said Rep. Michael Paymore (DFL-St. Paul).

"If we want to arm teachers, if we want to have armed security guards, if we want to put shooters at the scene who can actually do something, Legislatures are saying 'no' and pretending these worthless gun bills are going to do any good -- which they won't," said Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder).

The lawmaker overseeing these three days of hearings says he will put together the best of the gun proposals into one bill and have a vote on it later this month.

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