ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gun owners who want to legally carry weapons into the Minnesota Capitol would have to provide more precise information to authorities, if recommendations made Thursday are approved by the Legislature.
The Advisory Committee on Capitol Security voted 3-2, with one member abstaining, to suggest changing state law. It would require people with handgun permits to alert authorities they may be coming with a weapon at least once every five years.
It would replace a process where notifications are valid indefinitely and few details about the gun owner are documented. If the change prevails, people would have to supply personal data such as their date of birth and mailing address as well as specific details about their permit. If they are asked by a security officer, they would have to display their permit and a government-issued identification.
Rep. Michael Paymer, a Democrat who wanted to ban guns in the building, was the swing vote. He supported the recommendation despite saying it didn’t go far enough. Without his vote, the measure would have failed because Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea abstained out of concern the matter could eventually be litigated.
Paymar, of St. Paul, said there should be allowances for restricting guns during some events or in some areas of the Capitol.
“I don’t want to wait until we have an incident to say we should have acted when we have an opportunity to act,” Paymar said.
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria and a retired sheriff, framed the proposal as a good balance between the rights of gun owners and the need to assure safety.
“We took a step in the right direction in terms of identifying some potential folks who should not be carrying,” he said. “We gave (authorities) a tremendous tool that they did not have before.”
Hundreds of people have given previous notification to public safety officials that they might carry a gun to the Capitol. But authorities haven’t routinely sought information they can use to check whether someone has a valid permit.
The gun proposal is part of a broader report on Capitol safety measures headed to the Legislature for consideration. The report also seeks to boost the presence of troopers and security guards around the Capitol complex and seeks additional funding to cover those costs.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)