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Gun Week 2 arrives at Capitol

ST. PAUL -- Call it Gun Week 2 in the Minnesota Legislature.

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans Thursday and Friday meetings on bills written to curb gun violence. They likely will include proposals to ban so-called assault weapons and magazines with large numbers of bullets.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said he expects an even larger crowd for the hearings than the 500 who attended House meetings earlier this month.

Bakk said security concerns have been raised about the hearings, but was not specific. Several at the House hearings said they were carrying guns, which is allowed under state law as long as the gun owners have a valid conceal carry permit and tell the Public Safety Department their intent to take a gun into the Capitol complex.

The week begins with a Freedom from Gun Violence rally on Monday.

Groups supporting gun restrictions are trying to pack committee and overflow rooms after they were outnumbered by gun rights supporters, including National Rifle Association members, at House hearings.

"The NRA crowded the House hearings to shut us out and make it appear that the public is not behind common sense gun violence prevention," Heather Martens of Protect Minnesota wrote to those backing gun laws. "But victims bravely spoke out. And now they need you."

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.