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Security panel: No metal detectors, more officers at Capitol

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A state Capitol security panel met Tuesday as its members draft new recommendations related to carrying guns in the state Capitol, and proposals aimed at tighter security include more officers, but not metal detectors.

The task force has been struggling to draw up a new set of Capitol security rules. The committee aims to send its final report to lawmakers early next year, the Associated Press reports.

KSTP recently summed up the debate about guns at the Capitol: Gun rights advocates say they shouldn't have to check their Second Amendment rights at the building doors. Those who oppose guns in the Capitol say people should feel free from intimidation as they participate in the democratic process.

One proposal from the committee's chairwoman, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon: The adoption of a new standard form that gun owners would have to complete each year before they could bring a weapon into the Capitol. The new document would be a more precise form than one currently in use, the Associated Press reported earlier this month. Currently, gun owners are required to submit a notice once, not yearly.

Currently, the Department of Public Safety has received notice from more than 800 people that they might be carrying a gun into the Capitol at some point, but the department does not check in all cases to determine if the gun owner has a valid permit, and it doesn't track guns in and out of the building, the Associated Press noted.

The recommendations thus far don't propose metal detectors, which some state lawmakers had advocated, the Associated Press reports. It does, however, advocate increasing the number of state troopers at the Capitol from eight to 12, and the number of security officers from 40 to 67, the AP reports.

The issue has received new scrutiny in recent months in the wake of recent high-profile mass shootings nationwide.

The Minnesota Capitol is among 14 state capitols nationwide that allow gun owners to bring the weapons in the buildings, and 27 states – not including Minnesota – use metal detectors to screen visitors for weapons, WCCO reported. Metal detectors and more armed security are measures under consideration, WCCO notes.

Other high-tech security improvements are being made as part of a three-year renovation project.

Passions ran high among people on both sides of the guns-at-the-Capitol issue at a public legislative hearing in August.

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