By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This week is the deciding one for a bill to create universal background checks for gun sales in Minnesota.

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The bill would establish background checks for the estimated 40 percent of gun sales that are done privately or at gun shows.

Our WCCO weekend web poll, like other polls, found overwhelming support for the proposal with 77 percent of those responding saying they support the idea. So why is this bill in so much trouble at the Capitol?

By this Friday, March 15, the universal background check bill must pass through at least one Minnesota legislative committee, otherwise it’s dead for the session.

Polls shows overwhelming support and the DFL, which is generally more sympathetic to gun limits, is in control of the legislature and the governor’s office.

But what’s not clear is this bill, which expands background checks to gun shows and private sales, has enough votes to get it out of a committee.

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Rep. Michael Paymar is the bill’s author and Chairman of the House Public Safety Committee. He and Rep. Tony Cornish, the legislature’s most vocal critic of gun control, appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“It looks very promising in the Senate and it’s very close in the House,” Paymar said. “The National Rifle Association has mounted a very effective campaign providing a lot of misinformation about universal background checks. All universal background checks does in this bill is it expands to internet sales, gun shows and private sales.”

But Rep. Cornish said it will make matters more difficult.

“You have to look for a dealer to run the background check for you and in the rural areas, you might look for a while,” he said. “With the complexities, the fees and the registration and really not proving that it makes any difference, that is why we don’t like it.”

Cornish predicts if the bill makes it out of committee this week, it will eventually go down to defeat.

Supporters insist while it will be close, the universal background check bill has the best chance of passing of any of the major gun control proposals the legislature is considering.

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You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Esme Murphy