The shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others near Tuscon, Arizona over the weekend is spurring renewed concerns about security at the state Capitol. A 2009 report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor determined that the Capitol complex has “significant security vulnerabilities.”
Gov. Mark Dayton held a 10 a.m. press conference to address the shootings. After beginning with a moment of silence, Dayton said he has already spoken with Capitol Security and that he hopes to convene a meeting between his office and legislative leaders later in the week to discuss a more thoroughgoing review of security issues. But Dayton also stressed that the balance between security and openness dictates that not all such risks can be removed. For his own part, Dayton said he is opposed to proposals to use metal detectors widely at the Capitol.
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, was also pressed about security concerns at a press conference to promote legislation designed to spur job growth. Koch said that the Legislative Auditor’s report should be reviewed, but was noncommittal about whether she’d support metal detectors.
“We’d like to keep this the people’s house,” Koch said. “We’d like to keep it welcoming and friendly.”