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Negotiations Continue on New Gun Legislation
Negotiations continue at the statehouse on a new piece of gun legislation that would increase prison sentences for gun crimes.
The bill is aimed at increasing the penalties for repeat offenders who violate gun laws. But may pro-gun lawmakers say the bill could potentially put law-abiding citizens behind bars for a simple mistake.
Democratic Rep. Mike Zalewski is the chief sponsor of the bill. The measure passed the Judiciary Committee Tuesday night. Then, today, Zalewski met with representatives from the NRA, along with Democratic Rep. Brandon Phelps, who is typically the leader for pro-gun lawmakers.
Tonight, they ran the bill back through Judiciary, with a compromise amendment attached.
"I said all along, I don't want law-abiding gun owners that made an honest mistake to spend even one day in jail--let alone a mandatory of three years," Phelps said. "So we're taking all that out. Anything with first-time offenders, it's gone. So we feel like we have a huge victory for law-abiding gun owners. Because there will be mistakes when the new concealed carry law kicks in."
The bill would increase the minimum sentences for violators, and the amount of time served for individuals convicted of unlawful use of a weapon charges. It would also impact repeat offenders who are already in corrections department custody.
Both Zalewski and Phelps told us they are confident they can at least pass the bill through the House Thursday.
We also spoke with NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde. He said with the new amendment, his organization is now in support of the bill.