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Iowa county returns ban on guns in courthouse

February 24, 2018

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — County supervisors in western Iowa have renewed a ban on guns in the courthouse after a dispute over allowing weapons in parts of the building where court services aren’t held.

Woodbury County Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday against permitting guns in non-court controlled spaces of the courthouse, the Sioux City Journal reported .

Supervisor Jeremy Taylor switched positions after being a chief supporter of allowing guns in the courthouse. Taylor said it’s impractical to bring guns into portions of courthouse floors, while restricting them on others above and below.

Prior to the vote, County Sheriff Dave Drew told supervisors to return to the ban because enforcement otherwise would require hiring more workers to monitor individuals from floor to floor, and within the same floor.

“Given that those who would otherwise carry weapons would essentially be escorted (by security personnel)...I fail to continue believing that having some areas where carrying is allowed is practical, nor do I believe it is the will of the public,” Taylor wrote in a meeting memo.

The issue has been widely debated by county supervisors and residents since the expanded gun rights bill took effect in July. The new gun law expands Iowa’s stand-your-ground provision, so that law-abiding citizens don’t have to retreat in a public place before using deadly force when confronted with danger to life or property.

Permitting guns in the courthouse has also been the subject of two orders by the Iowa Supreme Court.

“None of this has been neat, clean or easy,” Taylor said.

Duane Hoffmeyer, the chief judge of the Iowa Third Judicial District, weighed in on the vote Tuesday.

“I am in favor of your action,” Hoffmeyer said. “It strengthens security in the Woodbury County Courthouse.”

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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