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Associated Press, Published April 09 2013

Improving gun background checks would cost $1.1M

ST. PAUL — A legislative proposal to improve Minnesota's background check system for gun sales would cost the state almost $1.1 million.

State Sen. Ron Latz, a St. Louis Park Democrat who has led a push to tighten the state's gun laws, said Tuesday that about $800,000 of that would cover the manpower needed to dig through old court records for mental health commitment information. That information would be sent to the national database of people who can't own a gun.

Another $250,000 would pay for preparing and streamlining that data before it's sent. The state would also need to pay about $25,000 to include more felonies as disqualifiers for gun ownership, like a felony-level strangulation conviction. Those figures come from the Judiciary Committee's omnibus budget bill.

Latz said those costs are necessary to improve public safety. Latz is also pushing for universal background checks on gun sales, though it's not clear that measure has enough support to pass on the Senate floor.

The House's gun control bill focuses on expanding background checks to sales at gun shows and does not include the measures to beef up mental health reporting. It would not require state funding.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.