Following in the footsteps of West Burlington and Hancock County, Shelby County is reported to be considering a ban on firearms in the courthouse and on other county properties. According to a published report by Whitney Sager of the Harlan Newspaper Group, the Shelby County Board of Supervisors considered the ban during their meeting on August 3, 2010. Minutes of the meeting are not available on the Board’s website at the time of this article.
According to the published report, Shelby County Sheriff Mark Hervey told the Supervisors:
Regardless of the new law [the change in Iowa’s permit law that will take effect on 1/1/11], I think we need to take the proper steps for the courthouse and the courtroom.
He went on to say:
There’s two sides to it. Do you want to get so restrictive at your county parks to prohibit that or do you want to be on the safe side and say, ‘I don’t really think it’s the appropriate place for a firearm’?
Hervey reportedly said that there should be no need for a any individual to carry a firearm into any park, because county conservation officers and Sheriff’s Deputies protect the area. Another concern about firearms in the parks is the presence of families there.
As usual, all are totally misguided “concerns” on the part of Sheriff Hervey and the Supervisors. Sheriff Hervey absolutely cannot make any guarantees regarding the safety of visitors to the parks, nor can he guarantee the safety of citizens and employees in the courthouse. He does not have the manpower to put a deputy with every individual that visits the courthouse or Shelby County parks. Furthermore, the concern about “families being in the parks” is the usual, emotional plea brought forward by the anti-gun crowd. “Think of the families and the children” is their normal mantra. The mere presence of a firearm in the park is enough to cause great harm to families and children. What is always overlooked, however, is the fact that firearms are carried in a concealed manner, which poses an interesting question: If the firearm is concealed, how do families and children even know that the firearm is present in the first place? And if it remains properly holstered and concealed, how is a threat to anyone? Firearms cannot go off by themsleves while properly carried in a holster.
Iowa law does not allow Shelby County the right to ban firearms in their courthouse, their parks, or any other property operated by the County. The Supervisors wisely took no action on this at their meeting on Tuesday, but only because they wanted Sheriff Hervey to further investigate the matter and research ordinances from around the state that prohibit firearms on county property.
According to the article, signs would be posted at the courthouse advising visitors that firearms were not allowed in the building. They believe that this type of an ordinance is necessary to protect the people who work in the courthouse and those who are in the courtroom while trials are in session. It would appear that Sheriff Hervey and the Supervisors have forgotten how many criminals actually take the time to read signs like that and take their business elsewhere because of a weapons-free zone (also known as a “safety-free zone).
Citizens in Shelby County need to stand up NOW and make their wishes known. The last thing that Sheriff Hervey and the Supervisors need is an illegal ordinance on their books that could put them in the same situation as West Burlington – using tax money to fund a court battle that didn’t need to happen in the first place. Or in the worst case scenario, causing someone to be injured or killed because their “No Firearms Allowed” signs simply didn’t work for the law-abiding citizen that obeyed the rule – or the criminal that ignored it.
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