The irony regarding this letter to the editor that ran Monday: The guy sitting next to me at the front table had a pistol on his hip, and I'll assume there were other guns in the room as well. Nobody who wanted to carry a gun was turned away from our Dialogues event. Nobody got kicked out.
I just asked in advance that people choose not to carry. I'll assume a number of people ignored that, and certainly one of our panelists did.
There were Rochester police officers on hand to check permits to carry, though I don't know that any were checked.
Nobody's rights were infringed, but the library -- our host for the event -- appreciated my request that people leave their guns at home.
Interestingly, when I arrived that night, a man had set up a video camera in the front row, intending to tape it (as was recommended by a Minnesota gun rights lobby). I asked the guy if that was his intention and he said yes. I asked him to not move around and disrupt the event, and he said fine.
Then I learned that in fact the library has a policy not to allow videotaping for privacy reasons, which is their right, though the library in fact videotapes the Dialogues events (and makes people aware that videotaping occurs).
They asked him not to use his camera; he refused. They decided not to pursue it further to avoid creating a scene.
I asked him myself and he said it was a library policy, not a statute or higher law, and he'd videotape if he pleased. He was fairly cold and crisp about it.
I asked for his name -- he asked what mine was. I told him mine and he said his name was Kevin Vick, of Lakeville. I looked him up later and he owns a gun and training business called Crucible Arms and is an NRA firearms instructor. Check out his website if you want to see where he's coming from.
After the event, he thanked me and said he didn't intend to create a stir. I thanked him for attending. But as the videotape incident suggests, absolutely nothing is easy about this issue.