Departing members pan Capitol security panel

A departing state lawmaker who pushed for tougher security measures inside the state Capitol building, including tighter restrictions on guns, offered a harsh assessment today of the special committee designed to address those sensitive topics.

Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, told his fellow members of the Advisory Committee on Capitol Area Security that he believes it was “a failed mission.” He said the panel made no significant recommendations to the Legislature about limiting firearms or installing metal detectors.

Paymar, who did not seek re-election this year, attended his last meeting of the committee today. His parting comments raised concerns about the vulnerability of the Capitol and other nearby state government buildings to potential attack. He referenced the October shooting at Canada’s Parliament building to emphasis the point.

“I think we’ve put staff at risk. I think we’ve put school children and the citizenry at risk,” Paymar said. “I just think that we can’t operate by crossing our fingers and hoping it doesn’t happen.”

Paymar noted that some progress was made, including the hiring of additional security staff. But overall, he said he thought committee members were “not doing our job.”

Paymar said other states are far ahead of Minnesota and he hopes that future committee members “have the courage to address the issue.”

DFL Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, the committee chair, said she shared Paymar’s concern. Prettner Solon, who is also leaving office next month, said she wanted to make more changes too.

“We certainly are either not eloquent enough or convincing enough to be able to bring along the numbers of the members to make those changes,” Prettner Solon said.

A Republican member of the panel took issue with the bleak critiques. State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said he thinks they’ve made important strides in security improvements. But Ingebrigtsen still opposes the tighter gun rules that Paymar called for.

“Rep. Paymar and I certainly don’t see eye to eye on that,” Ingebrigtsen said. “We’re going to have a lot better security because of the work we’ve been doing here.”

  • TCguns_carry

    STFU, Paymar, and just go away already. Your little vendetta against permit holders is dead. Everyone knows you’re just a petty, vindictive, control freak fraud. Go collect your paycheck from Bloomberg.

  • Cat

    Ingebrigsten believes that the panel has made great strides in improving security at the the capitol. How so? And what’s wrong with these aggressive gunclingers who are fearful to walk from their cars into the capitol in broad daylight without a firearm strapped to their hip? I am a great-grandmother and I have taken the bus from Minneapolis to the capitol many times without any qualms, and without incident. I will likely take the light rail this year. I have never worried about my safety in the capitol itself, until strident men showed up armed to the teeth, trying to intimidate the rest of us. The culture of fear promulgated by these strong, healthy young men baffles me.

    • TCguns_carry

      I’m a 110 lb woman – not a “strong, healthy young man” (bigot much?) who remembers well the Ray Widstrand near fatal gang beating – and many other asaults and violent robberies – virtually within sight line of ghe capitol. I choose to be prepared with effective options to protect my safety, thank you very much.

      • Cat

        I see the culture of fear being promulgated by strong healthy young men who like to carry guns has had its influence on you.

        • TCguns_carry

          Uh, no. But you’ve exposed your sexism and bigotry by declaring that a ” l’il ol female” couldn’t possibly make her own decisions about personal safety without the influence of a man. What a sexist bigot.
          I put on my big girl britches and made the decision all on my own nearly 10 years ago after a predator incident and 3 calls to 911 with cops never showing up.

          • Cat

            It’s not sexist or bigoted to point out that the most strident advocates of ordinary citizens needing to carry arms are male. It’s a fact.

          • TCguns_carry

            Uh huh. And most people who commit mass shootings are democrats. Shall we proceed with basing our dogma and beliefs on generalizations and stereotypes? Again… bigot.