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Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Ban Guns At Minn. Capitol

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A Minnesota lawmaker introduced a bill Monday to ban guns at the State Capitol complex, and consider the use of metal detectors at some building entrances.

Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul) introduced the bill after a recent security review in Minnesota recommended tightening security at the Capitol.

Minnesota law allows legal gun permit holders to bring weapons to the Capitol with few restrictions, after a one-time notification to the Department of Public Safety.

“Nobody wants to put impediments to meeting with public officials; to observing the process. That’s what it’s all about, but we are living in a different world,” said Paymar.

Paymar says the political world changed after Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot and eight others killed at a public meeting in Tucson.

Following the shooting, a security review in Minnesota recommended tighter security at the Capitol, but did not address the issue of guns at the Capitol.

Paymar’s bill recommends emergency procedures for a list of potential security threats and purchasing updated security equipment, including weapons screening machines.

However, key lawmakers say the Capitol is actually safer if more people are carrying weapons. They say it’s impossible to stop a deranged gunman and irresponsible to roll back Minnesota gun rights.

“I’d hate to restrict a government building from carrying if people have a legal right to do it, especially since there is no problem with it,” said Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder), who is a chairman on the Public Safety Committee.

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