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Residents in Iowa county oppose lifting courthouse gun ban

October 2, 2018

WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) — After public opposition to a proposal that would allow guns into public areas of a county courthouse in Iowa, a county supervisor said he’s unsure whether he will move forward with the motion.

About a dozen people attended a Bremer County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday to express concerns about safety if the firearms ban for the courthouse is lifted, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported .

“It is not a good idea, I think, to encourage people to bring guns into a courthouse,” said Lana Luhring, an attorney and president of the Bremer County Bar Association.

The Iowa Supreme Court issued an order in 2017 that allows county supervisors to seek permission to permit guns in courthouses. The chief judge of the judicial district would approve allowing guns in public areas that aren’t occupied by the court system.

Dewey Hildebrandt, the board chairman and District 3 supervisor, proposed discussing the gun option.

“In my mind, it’s about constitutional rights for all,” he said.

Pete Newell, a district associate judge who serves four counties including Bremer, said the issue weighs an abstract principal against safety.

“Are you going to do something to endanger us in order to support an abstract principal? You will introduce an element of danger into the courthouse,” he said.

Those at the meeting agreed that if the gun ban is lifted, metal detectors would have to be added to the courthouse.

No vote was taken Monday. Hildebrandt said he was surprised by the response and that he’s uncertain if he’ll move forward with the proposal.

“I am somewhat surprised we haven’t heard from other folks that want their constitutional rights upheld,” Hildebrandt said.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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