Minn. House bill lets prosecutors carry guns

Published 12:36 pm Thursday, January 26, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota state House committee has passed a bill that would let county attorneys carry guns on the job.

The House Public Safety Committee’s vote Thursday comes a month after the courthouse shooting of Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell (SCAN’-el) by a man he prosecuted for criminal sexual conduct. Scannell attended the hearing and testified in favor of a separate bill, which also passed, to enhance criminal penalties for assaulting or killing a prosecutor.

The firearms bill would exempt county attorneys from a statute that prohibits local government employees from carrying firearms. The other bill adds prosecutors to a list of protected occupations under the state’s first-degree murder statute.

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Republican Rep. Tony Cornish, the author of the bills, says he expects both will now head to the full House for a floor vote.