House Public Safety chair Tony Cornish outlines his views on Capitol safety

Rep. Tony Cornish, chair of the House Public Safety Committee, says gun control isn’t the answer to Capitol security in light of the Tucson shootings.

He also said more uniformed officers in the building, not metal detectors or gun control, would work best in the Capitol.

Cornish, a Republican from Good Thunder, is police chief in Lake Crystal.

Jason Hoppin of the Pioneer Press highlights an email sent by Cornish on the issue, which includes Cornish’s assertion that if assassins don’t have access to guns, they’ll use other weapons — like butter knives:

If a crazed lunatic truly wants to kill someone, he’ll take a butter knife if that’s the only thing available,” Cornish wrote. “As the chair of the Public Safety Committee, I strive to control the criminal, not the object in his or her hand.”

He also says there is no connection between the Tucson shooter and conservative talk shows and ads:

Finally, I’m troubled by some liberal attempts to blame conservative talk shows and political advertisements for the Arizona tragedy. There is absolutely no connection. This is a guy who hates government altogether — Republicans and Democrats. A psychotic cannot be influenced by others, only by his own deprived mind, and sadly that’s exactly what happened in Arizona.

The entire email:

Hello from the State Capitol,

In the aftermath of the Arizona shootings that killed six and injured 14 others — including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords I’ve been asked repeatedly what, if anything, can be done to prevent a similar act of violence at the State Capitol in St. Paul.

There are few solutions. If someone has the intent to assassinate, there’s little you can do to stop it. But I can tell you this; the wrong answer is to disarm citizens. If a crazed lunatic truly wants to kill someone, he’ll take a butter knife if that’s the only thing available. As the chair of the Public Safety Committee, I strive to control the criminal, not the object in his or her hand.

One change I would like to see at the State Capitol is the presence of more armed uniformed state troopers. Some have suggested metal detectors and pat downs, but subjecting everyone visiting the Capitol to a screening would be a logistical nightmare. Not only do you have lobbyists and the general public visiting every day, but you also might have thousands of kids taking a short Capitol tour before heading to the Mall of America. It would literally be impossible to screen them all.

Plus, let’s not forget everyone was seemingly in favor of strong airport security in order to ensure traveler safety, yet when the pat downs began and the check-in lines increased, everybody complained. I could see the same thing happening at the Capitol if we chose to go down the road of heightened security.

Finally, I’m troubled by some liberal attempts to blame conservative talk shows and political advertisements for the Arizona tragedy. There is absolutely no connection. This is a guy who hates government altogether – Republicans and Democrats. A psychotic cannot be influenced by others, only by his own deprived mind, and sadly that’s exactly what happened in Arizona.

Have a good weekend,

Tony

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