Ban on guns at Capitol will not make it safer

We will concede the point that anyone with a gun could do harm to others. On the other hand, telling law-abiding citizens that they cannot carry guns in certain places turns those places into potential (or real) killing zones. If a maniac knows others are unarmed, he also knows they are vulnerable.

These thoughts are at the crux of a debate going on in Minnesota about whether to ban civilians from being allowed to carry firearms at the state Capitol. Currently, the state allows anyone with a valid handgun permit to carry their gun at the Capitol, as long as they give advance notice. So far, 841 people have opted to do so, without incident.

On the other side of the debate are those who say it can be intimidating to see weapons at the Capitol, such as during hearings earlier this year on legislation that would have tightened the state’s gun laws. Many who favor gun rights openly carried their guns at the hearings.

It is possible that “feeling intimidated” at the sight of a gun is an emotion that has little to do with any actual threat that gun poses. We have to believe the larger issue should be the main consideration in this case: If the state were to ban guns at the Capitol, that would not translate into a safer building. In fact, it could be considered less safe. So lawmakers should leave well enough alone.