ST. PAUL (AP) -- The first major gun bill of the session blasted through its first committee stop Tuesday with no changes.
The proposal would force sheriffs to issue handgun permits to most law-abiding citizens -- and do it within 15 days.
Rep. Lynda Boudreau, R-Faribault, seemed confident that after several years of narrow defeats, the bill she is sponsoring would pass this year.
"We have a problem," she told the House Civil Law Committee. "It's about time we had the guts to remedy it. It takes courage."
Most permits are issued by police chiefs, who have broad discretion over who they allow the right to carry a handgun. Applicants must demonstrate an occupational need or a specific threat to their safety.
The vast majority of the applicants for permits live outside the seven-county metropolitan area, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Franz Metzger, a St. Louis Park dentist, said he received his first permit in 1994 and had it renewed five times until a new police chief took over and denied him one. Metzger said his Minneapolis office has been burglarized several times and that a fire was once started at a tree farm he owns in the northern part of the state.
"Do I have to get stabbed or shot or burned before the permit gets renewed?" he said.
Terry Doyle, a retired police officer who lives in Savage, also was denied a permit until he showed he had taught firearms classes for years and that he had received death threats.
And Andrea Murphy of Apple Valley said she applied for a permit after being raped and what she believed was an attempted second rape she was able to thwart.
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