Hearings mixed on gun control at Capitol, Dayton worries about 'chilling effect'

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The Advisory Committee on Capitol Security held the first of two planned meetings Wednesday to review regulations on having firearms in the state Capitol complex in St. Paul.

As BringMeTheNews reported earlier, currently people with proper permits can have a firearm with them in the Capitol and in nearby buildings.

The feeling from the hearings? Mixed. Members of the task force studying security at Minnesota's Capitol are split over the law that allows handguns in the building, the Associated Press reports.

The panel, including Lt. Gov. Yvette Prettner-Solon and four other lawmakers, is reviewing the notion of banning firearms. Minnesota is one of 13 states allowing guns on Capitol grounds, according to WCCO-TV.

Prettner Solon and DFL state Rep. Michael Paymar suggested allowing people with handgun permits to carry in the Capitol is a safety risk, according to the AP. But Republican members of the panel say law-abiding handgun owners are not the ones causing a safety risk.

Strange bedfellows time: Gov. Mark Dayton is trending toward the GOP case on this, even seemingly contradicting his own second-in-command.

Dayton tells the Star Tribune that while he worries about someone bringing a weapon to the Capitol with malicious intent, he is not worried about those with legal permits to carry and believes weapons-screening would be costly and could have a "chilling effect" on public participation.

Dayton said it would be costly to ensure that no one with a weapon enters the Capitol.

Some 830 people have notified Capitol officials that they bring weapons to the building. Public testimony is scheduled for Tuesday.

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