California lawmakers told they can't carry guns in capitol

Sacramento BeeApril 9, 2011 

SACRAMENTO — Four members of the California state Assembly who had been given permission to carry concealed weapons under the Capitol dome have been directed to check their guns at the door.

Assembly Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Ronald Pane had granted four legislators clearance to carry guns at the workplace, a public building where weapons are prohibited in most circumstances.

But shortly after The Bee first reported the news on Friday, Speaker John A. Pérez directed Pane to "revoke authorizations for any members pending a full review of safety and security measures."

"The Speaker does not believe that members should bring weapons into the Capitol because the job of protecting the men and women who visit and work in the Capitol is best left to the well-trained professionals in the Sergeant's office and the California Highway Patrol," Pérez spokesman John Vigna said in an emailed statement.

Pane and his counterpart in the state Senate gained the power to OK concealed weapons in the building as a result of a 2010 law meant to further limit the presence of loaded guns and deadly weapons at the statehouse. The law, which was supported by Pane, included a provision that allowed the sergeants-at-arms to grant holders of concealed weapons permits permission to bring their guns into the Capitol and legislative office buildings.

The Assembly did not release the names of the four members, and Pane did not respond to multiple requests for comment on why the lawmakers requested the clearance or why he approved it. The statement issued by Pérez indicated that he had previously been unaware that the approvals had been granted.

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