Reporting Holly Wagner
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — For the second day in a row, the gun debate has brought a large crowd to the State Capitol.
A House Committee is holding three days of hearings on all the proposed changes to our gun laws. A proposal to ban assault weapons in Minnesota was at the center of Wednesday’s debate. The hearing started with a letter read from Betty Beyers, a Minnesota mother whose granddaughter was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut where a mass shooting took place.
Her letter was a plea to lawmakers to do something about the gun laws in Minnesota. In addition to that letter, former Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan spoke, as did a retired FBI agent, member of the National Rifle Association and a private detective.
“Anyone can acquire a weapon that in seconds can decimate a room full of innocent children and dedicated teachers or turn a cinema into a slaughter house,” said John Egelhof, who supports a ban on assault rifles. “To me, who has held the bodies of dead children, and teachers, and see my fellow friends and law enforcement officers slain, it is simply a moral issue.”
For the second straight day, a long line of people on both sides of the issue showed up for the debate and listened to the discussion. Advocates of gun control say assault weapons are weapons of war and don’t belong in the hands of the general public.
Opponents of gun control say the weapons are used by hunters in Minnesota and are just as dangerous as any other. Displaying a coffee mug with a pistol handle, lawmaker Tony Cornish said people have a right to protect themselves
“What most people fear is when they walk up o a theater and see that society has been neutered and there’s a sign saying you can’t take a firearm in, letting a criminal know that it’s a killing zone,” said Rep. Tony Cornish.
The House Public Safety Committee was also supposed to take up a proposal that would limit the size of ammunition clips, but there’s been so much testimony on the assault weapons ban that they likely won’t get that far on Wednesday. It would have to be addressed at another public hearing.