McDonald County puts tighter controls on concealed weapons on county property

McDonald County commissioners unanimously pass an ordinance officially banning the carry of weapons in county buildings.

McDonald County Commissioner David Holloway says the new county ordinance restricting concealed carry weapons on county owned properties was an easy decision.

“If there is something that happens, our law officials, of course, you can’t get here fast enough,” says Holloway.

According to the county commissioners it isn’t about a resident’s right to carry a gun, it’s about keeping everyone safe at the courthouse.

“We only have one security personnel in the building and there are multiple entrances, and there are multiple levels, so we’re in fact trying to keep the public safe,” says Holloway.

Before unanimously passing the new ordinance the commissioners asked the county attorney to write up a draft.

“I think the concern arose partly out of the rash of shootings that the county seems to have suffered lately,” says McDonald County prosecuting attorney Jonathan Pierce.

Pierce says county buildings include not only the McConald County court building, but sheriff’s offices and health departments as well. Previously, residents could bring permitted concealed carry weapons into the county courthouse building, but not the courtroom or circuit court itself.

“I mean there is always somebody out there who could have a gun, who could be a danger to society, and those are always concerning, but I’ve never had an issue with anybody who had a conceal carry permit who abused it,” says Pierce.

While there hasn’t been a problem involving guns on county property so far the commissioners say the new ordinance will help keep it that way.