Capitol security panel recommends changes

A legislative panel finalized a report today that calls for tighter rules for carrying handguns inside the Minnesota Capitol.

The Advisory Committee on Capitol Area Security is recommending a change in law to require gun owners to notify state officials every five years if they intend to bring a weapon into the building. Current law allows for a onetime notification.

State Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, supported the provision, even though he argued that it didn’t go far enough. Paymar said he still favors banning guns in the Capitol.

“Nothing’s happened yet, as people keep saying, we haven’t had a problem yet, and that’s the component here that disturbs me,” Paymar said. “So, I guess I don’t want to wait until we have an incident and then say we should have acted.”

The panel also wants to authorize the director of Capitol Area Security to verify the permits of gun owners seeking to carry inside the building.

Sen. Bill Inegbrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said the change will benefit security personnel.

“I think we took a step in the right direction as far as identifying some potential folks that should not be carrying while they’re in the complex or should have been revoked during their permitting time,” Ingebrigtsen said. “So, I think we’ve given them a tremendous tool that they never had before.”

The committee’s report also recommends the assignment of four additional state troopers and 27 additional non-sworn security officers to the Capitol complex.