Guns in Mohave County buildings: What's the policy?

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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