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Minn. Capitol sees spike in gun notices

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm •  Published: February 22, 2013

Still, Goodwin said, any nerves about guns in the Senate hearing room wouldn't dissuade her from speaking out. Armed State Patrol officers were posted at the House and Senate hearings, a relative rarity in legislative proceedings.

Goodwin said she and colleagues tried to prohibit guns in the Capitol in 2006, but lacked the votes to do so. Some lawmakers have acknowledged carrying their own weapons at the Capitol, including Republican Rep. Tony Cornish of Good Thunder, a strong opponent of tighter gun laws.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-ST. Louis Park, and state Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, both plan to assemble separate sets of gun control measures for lawmakers to consider. But there's been no talk of changing the state's carry permit law that allows guns at the Capitol.

Latz has said he would not pursue an assault weapons ban, which is sought by gun control activists but strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association and its allies.

Since Latz took that off the table, the debate has increasingly focused on a bill that would require background checks for all gun purchases in Minnesota — not just those that go through federally licensed dealers, but also sales at gun shows, online and between individuals. The NRA and Minnesota pro-gun groups oppose that measure, too.

Joe Isaacs, a real estate agent from the Stillwater area who has helped organize gun control opponents at the Capitol hearings, said he typically wears his gun everywhere. He notified DPS of plans to wear it at the Capitol, but changed his mind after realizing it could be seen as a provocative act.

"It could have been a distraction, and take the focus off the issue," Isaacs said. "I don't wear it to be political. It's for safety."