Gun Safety Advocate Michael Paymar: Still Shooting For Gun Safety

The Minnesota Legislature’s leading proponent of tougher gun-safety measures, Rep. Michael Paymar, announced last week that he won’t run for re-election next year, but he plans to go out with gun-control proposals blazing. Paymar, a nine-term DFLer from St. Paul, made another in a series of attempts at Tuesday’s meeting of the Advisory Committee on Capitol Area Security to impose tighter controls over guns being carried into the Capitol before — as many legislators privately say they fear — someone gets shot. Paymar proposed that guns be banned completely from the Capitol (except for law enforcement officers) and that metal-detectors and security stations be installed to keep guns out. The proposal failed on a tie 2-2 vote of the six-member advisory committee, with one member absent and another — Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, abstaining, she said, because the measure might come before her court some day.

Capitol Gun Safety Discussion Begins, Ends In Confusion, Disagreement. Is Paymar Out?

Story for The UpTake by Kathryn Nelson and Nick Coleman

The Minnesota State Patrol does not always verify that gun owners have valid permits to carry handguns before they are added to a list of gun owners allowed to carry weapons inside the Minnesota Capitol and its complex. That surprising admission was made Wednesday at a tense meeting of the advisory committee on Minnesota Capitol Security that exposed a number of areas of confusion in the state’s gun permitting laws and how they are interpreted at the Capitol and its 14-acre complex of associated buildings. Testimony by State Patrol Maj. Bob Meyerson caused a number of startled looks on the six-member task force, which is headed by Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon. Meyerson told the panel that gun owners are required to have a Minnesota Permit to Carry as well as permission from the Commissioner of Public Safety in order to bring their handguns into the State Capitol.

Minnesota Gun Battle Breaks Out of Committee, Moves to House Floor

A dramatically weakened gun-safety bill eked out a narrow escape from a Minnesota House committee Thursday, keeping the explosive issue of gun violence alive, ensuring that the Legislature will be asked to consider some tightening of Minnesota gun laws, and setting up contentious floor fights over the issue in the House in the weeks ahead. After two months of debate, the House Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, passed a bill including a softened requirement for background checks on buyers at gun shows. The narrow approval, on mostly party lines, came on a 10-8 vote (one Democrat, John Ward of Baxter, voted no), that presaged a contentious floor fight ahead. Rep. Tony Cornish, a gun-carrying Republican from Good Thunder, promised as much, telling Paymar after the vote to expect an all-out effort to defeat the bill.