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State panel on security issues is split evenly over whether to also ban permit-to-carry holders from bringing weapons into the Capitol.

The safety of the State Capitol’s staffers and visitors weighed against the freedom of the state’s nearly 160,000 gun permit holders Tuesday in a vigorous debate that effectively killed a proposal to extend a weapons ban on the Capitol grounds.

A six-member panel charged with providing recommendations on Capitol security to lawmakers, led by Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, deadlocked 2-2 on the proposal that would have included permit holders in the Capitol’s firearms ban. Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, a panel member, excused herself from voting in case the issue comes before the high court. Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, was out of state. The panel was made up of two Republicans and two DFLers, as well as Prettner Solon and Gildea.

A proposal by Prettner Solon that would have limited the carrying of pistols within House and Senate chambers and committee hearings was rejected. Prettner Solon said that the ultimate vote will be up to the full Legislature, and another hearing is set for January. But, she said, Tuesday’s outcome provided “a sense of where the committee is going.”

During Tuesday’s debate, both sides accused the other of playing politics with constitutional rights.

“This committee has said we want to keep the Capitol complex open and accessible and hope nothing happens, but to me hope is not a very good basis to build public safety,” said Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, who drafted the recommendation. “I’ve heard members of this committee say we haven’t had an incident yet and I would add that ‘yet’ is not a very good safety response.”

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said an extension of the ban was unnecessary.

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/233561071.html
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