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5/8/2013 6:00:00 AM
Guns in Mohave County buildings: What's the policy?

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - A new policy allowing guns in county buildings is still causing confusion, and those in charge of the Mohave County Library system are concerned about what firearms would do to the atmosphere in those locations.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Watson brought up the subject again at Monday's meeting, citing those concerns.

"We're not in favor of allowing weapons in the libraries," said Assistant Mohave County Library Director Julie Huelsbeck. The libraries have lots of children and families that use them on a daily basis, and the atmosphere of the library is greatly impacted when someone walks in with a gun on his or her hip, she said.

The computer lab at the Kingman Library was a particular concern of Huelsbeck.

"It's a very confined area and we have patrons with various opinions sitting next to one another," she said. "We have had altercations in the past. I can see the situation being exacerbated by someone having a weapon."

"This has been on the agenda numerous times and you're coming to us now?" asked District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson.

Library staff thought the ruling would only apply to the County Administration Building, Huelsbeck said.

"You allow people to carry backpacks in, don't you?" Johnson asked.

Huelsbeck agreed that a backpack could conceal anything, including a weapon, and said the libraries have had some problems with people carrying in things they shouldn't have.

District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius said she had received a number of phone calls about allowing weapons in the library in her district.

"As I understood it, all county buildings were supposed to be gun-friendly," said Johnson.

District 5 Supervisor Steven Moss said the Board approved allowing the public to carry weapons into any county building, with the exception of offices belonging to elected officials, such as the Sheriff's Office or the County Attorney's Office. Those offices were free to make their own decision on whether they would allow weapons.

"In my opinion, we should allow the public and employees to carry weapons," Moss said.

Watson suggested allowing all employees to carry weapons, but limiting open carry for the public to the County Administration Building.

Moss made another attempt to clarify the county's weapons policy by moving to allow the public and employees to carry weapons in all county buildings except those run by elected officials or sensitive areas, such as the courthouses.

He also gave staff 60 days to come up with a list of county offices where weapons shouldn't be allowed.

Watson was the only supervisor to vote against the motion.

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Related Stories:
• Supervisors will check out Mohave County library gun ban
• Mohave County workers get green light on guns
• Guns coming back to Mohave County building

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Moss

To "Why are elected officials exempt?"-

We exempted other elected officials' buildings as we don't have jurisdiction (i.e. power) over them. We can't tell the Sheriff, County Attorney, Courts, etc. what to do with their facilities. Arizona law requires the BOS to provide them with necessary space, but once provided that space is under the control of the elected official.

It's an offshot of the separation of powers doctrine that we all learned in school.

Steve Moss

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: N A

I always feel vulnerable in gun fee zones, when I go somewhere I like to know that I can protect my self and my daughter, I can' t afford to wait for the police or the deputies to come and take reports after we are hurt or dead.
In gun free zones all you are doing is disarming the law abiding citizens, but then progressives love that.

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Moss

Jim Lawson-

I agree with AZ Mac. Locking up guns is not the solution in an age of mass shootings. Lawful citizens would comply but the criminals and crazies would not, which means our law abiding citizens become sitting ducks.

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Kingmanmom .

The new policy allowing guns in county buildings is just a accident waiting to happen. This is a very BAD decision.

Wait and see, one of our "disturbed" people will cause a scene with a gun. Hopefully there is no injuries. I believe in the right to bear arms, but not in that kind of setting.

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Moss

I don't think any confusion exists on the weapons policy, except that which some chose to create.

The policy is simple. The County has removed prohibitions to employees and the public carrying weapons into county buildings in conformity with county restrictions (i.e. must be a lawful weapon and must be in a scabbard or holster), excepting that:

1. Other elected officials, such as the Sheriff or Judges, may restrict access as they see fit and,
2. The County Administrator may post any building (excepting the main administration building) he or she sees fit, provided that the County Administrator brings to the BOS the reasons for posting each building for review and approval (or rejection) by the BOS.

The BOS was clear that libraries are not so sensitive as to justify posting. Simply stated, if they want guns out of libraries, they need to have armed security on hand to protect the public before the public is stripped of their right to defend themselves.

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Why are elected officials exempt?

"... the Board approved allowing the public to carry weapons into any county building, with the exception of offices belonging to elected officials"

If the Board believes that having the public carry guns into public buildings somehow improves security, then why should offices belonging to elected officials be exempt? Wouldn't elected officials also be more secure if anybody could carry guns into their offices?

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Lawson

A simple solution would to NOT ALLOW any weapons in any public, private or government building. Provide lockers in the lobby and have them lock them up before allowing entrance.

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Article comment by: az mac

The way I see it is any gun free zone is an invitation to a mass shooter. Most all mass shooting happen in a gun free zone. I do not feel safe in a gun free zone.

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