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Handgun bill gets first hearing in state Senate

ST. PAUL -- A GOP proposal that would require sheriffs to issue handgun permits to most law-abiding citizens reached the Senate on Monday, but Republicans were irked that Democrats have introduced a competing bill.

Sen. Pat Pariseau, sponsor of the Republican version, called the DFL version "quite onerous" and said it was being offered to give political cover to some Democrats who don't want concealed carry.

Compared with Pariseau's proposal, Sen. Jim Vickerman's bill would be more restrictive, with more ways to disqualify applicants.

John Caile, a spokesman for Concealed Carry Reform Now, called Vickerman's proposal "a sham," "a joke," and "an insult." He said any vote in the Senate for a bill other than Pariseau's would be remembered at election time as "an F-minus" by his group.

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