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Panel not out to ban guns at Capitol, Prettner Solon says

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Capitol gun hearing
Kristopher Kranz, center, of Bloomington, Minn., wears his Glock handgun on his side as he listens to supporters calling for the right to allow guns inside the Minnesota State Capitol during public testimony Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 in St. Paul, Minn. in front of a panel studying whether Minnesota's rules for carrying a gun in the Capitol need revising.
AP Photo/Jim Mone

An advisory panel studying security at the State Capitol does not aim to try to ban guns in the complex, says Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon.

Prettner Solon chairs the Advisory Committee on Capitol Security, which heard public testimony Tuesday from Minnesotans who favor banning guns in the building and those who oppose making such a change in current policy. People with handgun permits can carry guns in the Capitol complex if they notify security in advance.

Testimony heard by the committee will help shape the safety recommendations that its members will eventually present to Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature.

Prettner Solon said she wants an open discussion of an issue that too often gets heated and emotional.

"What we're trying to do is to have a conversation where we can try to defuse the emotions and talk about the reality," she said. "It may take a while for us to be able to talk about it, because people tend to dig their heels in and want to protect their rights on either side of this issue."    With a major renovation of the Capitol moving forward, Solon said she wants to make plans for keeping the public safe over the next 100 years.