Lt.Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, who is chairing hearings into the popular practice of citizens carrying guns at the State Capitol, weighed in on the side of limiting gun-carrying on Tuesday.
"We are an anomaly among other states," she said, referring to state law that allows permit-holders to freely carry guns at the Capitol. One man carried his Glock openly during the committee hearing that was discussing the issue, standing a few feet away from the committee table.
"I do not want to be in a position where we have an incident at the Capitol and we have not thoroughly looked at the situation to determine whether we are providing for the safety of the public," she said.
Her boss, Gov. Mark Dayton, said last week he does not worry about permit-holder carrying weapons at the Capitol, but is concerned about others bringing guns in. Prettner Solon said it is possible that the issue could be subject to a compromise, such as limiting weapons in certain committees or on certain days.
"There's lots of room for movement," she said. "We don't have to jump from one extreme to another extreme."
She said she has not talked to Dayton about the subject.
"We don't talk very often," she said. "We talk with our policy staff, our policy staff keep each of us informed... The governor and I each have very busy schedules. It's not always easy to accommodate meetings between us."
Asked if she will seek a second term next year, she said, "I like doing what I'm doing, and the issues that I'm involved in right now. I'm really resistant to starting a campaign a year and a half out before your turn is up. And so, I'm interested in finishing my term. I'll give consideration to that after the first of the year."
Asked if she would favor banning guns in the Capitol, she said, "That would be my tendency. But I'm certainly open to consideration. I try to have open mind about things. Yah, that would be my knee-jerk reaction, because I don't feel a need to have guns around me. I like the fact that we have troopers here who do have guns, and are here to protect us."
"The governor is for openness of the Capitol, and the perception that the Capitol is open ... I don't think we disagree on that issue," she said.
She said the Capitol is not planning on buying metal detectors, but said in the Capitol renovation, the doors will have outlets that could be used for metal detectors.
"I want to know, are there times when it's more appropriate for us to eliminate guns from the Capitol than other times," she said, indicating the possibility of limiting or prohibiting guns on certain days or before certain committees.