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New legislation allows Minnesota's active duty armed forces to conceal and carry

State Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Cass County, and Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, will introduce legislation allowing active duty members of the U.S. armed forces or National Guard to conceal and carry personal firearms without first obtaining a permit...

State Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Cass County, and Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, will introduce legislation allowing active duty members of the U.S. armed forces or National Guard to conceal and carry personal firearms without first obtaining a permit in Minnesota.

The same exemption is already in statute for peace officers.

The action follows the recent shooting at a Chattanooga, Tenn., military recruitment center that left five servicemen dead. Rules prohibit military personnel from carrying firearms at military recruitment centers and bases, leaving them unable to defend themselves from attacks.

"Like our police force, military servicemen and women are highly trained in firearm use and safety, and have undergone extensive background checks in order to serve our country. They put themselves in harm's way on a daily basis to protect us, and the least we can do is give them the ability to defend themselves," said Gazelka.

Heintzeman added, "Recent tragedies serve as grim reminders of the ultimate sacrifice, at home and abroad, that our servicemen, women and their families sometimes unfortunately make serving our country. As the best trained military in the world, these men and women are more than qualified to be eligible for a conceal and carry permit. We owe this to our servicemen and women - the ability to defend themselves and their families. This legislation will save lives and I am proud to be its chief author in the House."

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The legislators also called on Gov. Mark Dayton to follow the lead of governors in other states who have issued executive orders allowing members of the National Guard to carry weapons on duty.

"In addition to passing this commonsense legislation, I hope Gov. Dayton will work with us to save lives by allowing National Guard members to defend themselves on base, like the governors of eight other states have already done," said Gazelka.

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