ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota is one of 14 states that allow handguns in its State Capitol building.
State officials are taking a fresh look at security after mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and the Navy Yard in DC, after getting the results of a nationwide survey of capitols.
And one of the recommendations could be banning guns from the state capitol.
“The high schools, the grade schools, the malls, the LAX airport, I mean you can go on and on,” DFL Rep. Michael Paymar said. “The courthouses, the business in Minneapolis. No one expects these things to happen. But that doesn’t mean you turn your head away and say, ‘It’s not going to happen here.'”
While Minnesota’s one of only 14 states to allow citizens with a permit to carry handguns in the capitol, three states specifically allow legislators to carry.
And 27 states — but not Minnesota — use metal detectors to screen visitors for weapons.
Security officers have worried for years about a threat, conducting occasional drills inside the capitol simulating a live shooter.
Like other states, Minnesota’s looking at metal detectors or more armed officers.
But some lawmakers think it’s unfair to legal gun owners to try and prevent something that’s never happened.
Whatever the legislature decides, there’s a lot more security coming to the capitol.
The three-year renovation project that has already begun will include sweeping new high-tech security measures in the 105-year-old capitol building.
Currently, any legal permit holder is allowed to carry a handgun in the capitol — concealed or openly — as long as they notify the Department of Public Safety first.
So far, more than 800 people have done that, but no one knows who, or when they are at the capitol.