Guns in, dress code out?

KINGMAN - The security guards, gun lockers, metal detector and dress code at the Mohave County Administration Building could be on their way out.

The new Board of Supervisors Wednesday asked staff to study the liability the county could incur if it removed some of the security equipment and allowed citizens and employees to carry weapons in the building.

A walk-through metal detector, gun lockers and security guards were added to the building in March 2010 after several residents protested outside of the building carrying guns.

State law allows local governments to ask residents carrying guns to leave them in their car or lock them in a lock box before entering a government building.

"I'm in favor of removing the security from the administration building," said Golden Valley resident Frederick Williams. "I see no reason for all this security when you have the sheriff's office 100 yards away."

"An armed society is a polite society," Mohave Valley resident Roy Hagemyer said. "No one's going to come in here shooting up the place if they know there might be 40 other people with guns."

"I think the staff and the citizens have a right to provide for their own protection," District 5 Supervisor Steve Moss said.

There may have to be some restrictions on county employees carrying weapons in the building, but there should be no restrictions placed on citizen who want to carry, he said.

The Board got a round of applause after it put a moratorium on enforcing the county's dress code for meeting attendees and sent it back to staff for review.

The dress code prohibited halter tops, tank tops, mini skirts, short shorts, anything that would leave underwear exposed and clothing that advertised alcohol, drugs, tobacco or has offensive language printed on it. All tattoos with advertising or offensive language had to be covered.

It also outlawed all hats and head coverings unless a person had religious or medical exception.

"There's nothing in the (Arizona Revised Statutes) or open meeting law that allows the county to create a dress code," Williams said.

Williams ran into a problem with the county's dress code shortly after it was approved in March 2010.

He filed a complaint against the county with the Arizona Attorney General's Office in 2010 after security guards refused to allow him to wear a baseball cap during a Board meeting, even though he had a doctor's note.

Williams suffers from headaches that are caused by changes in temperature. The cold air conditioning in the Board meeting room gave him headaches.

The attorney general ruled the county complied with open meeting laws.

"This is a violation of open meeting laws and the U.S. Constitution. We have every right to come to every meeting dressed as we please, not as the county manager pleases," Hagemyer said.

District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius said that since it was approved, the dress code has been twisted to prohibit wearing any article of clothing with an American flag on it.

She pointed out the dress code does not mention anything about clothing with American flags.

The only place she could find flags mentioned in the Board meeting rules was where the policy prohibited people from carrying flags and signs into the building and using them in a meeting.

"This is Mohave County. Personally I don't care what you wear. I think we should get rid of this," Angius said.

"I agree with you that it has been twisted and could be twisted again. It should be eliminated," Moss said.

He suggested a "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policy.

"Personally, I don't care if someone wants to hold up a sign that says 'Moss is a bad supervisor' or whatever," Moss added. "If someone wants to hold a up a sign during a meeting that's fine with me."

The Board also voted to have District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson take over as the Board's chairman and Angius as the vice chair. The Board meets again at 9:30 a.m. Monday.