ST. PAUL, (AP) - The Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee chairman says his focus in gun control legislation will be on expanded background checks, not banning assault weapons.

Sen. Ron Latz's committee meets later this week to review gun control bills. The St. Louis Park Democrat says he'll emphasize universal background checks which he says would "keep guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them."

Some House Democrats have introduced a bill to ban assault weapons in the state. But Latz says that issue is better handled at the federal level.

Gun control supporters rallied at the state Capitol on Monday afternoon. Recent House hearings drew large crowds of people opposed to new gun control measures, although Latz says he believes strengthening background checks has wide public support.

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