Banning weapons in courthouses


CHARLES CITY, Iowa – A recent order by a district judge in Iowa banning all weapons from court chambers has the Floyd County supervisors reviewing their policy on weapons in the building.

The message from Floyd County supervisor Mark Kuhn regarding the county’s current ban on weapons is that it’s a total ban. But the recent administrative order from Second Judicial Chief Judge Steve Wilke bans weapons only from court chambers, meaning the second, third and fourth floors of the courthouse. That’s less restrictive than Floyd County’s current policy banning weapons from the entire building.

“It’s not a good practice to allow weapons in the basement and the first floor, and then prohibit them on the second, third and fourth,” Kuhn said. “I think that’s totally unenforceable.”

When the supervisors adopted their current plan 15 years ago, they didn’t post signs, and now signs are required as part of the judge’s order. The ban would be enforced by the sheriff’s department, although Sheriff Rick Lynch says many may not follow it.

“It’s like our speed limit signs, honest people are going to stay at 55 the people who are going to speed are going to speed if there’s posted signs anyway,” Lynch said.

But he says it’s still important for the public to know the rules.

“Post it, get it done and then educate your people make them aware that you don’t bring your firearms, deadly weapons into the courthouse or you’re going to have consequences and a criminal trespass,” Lynch said.

Kuhn agreed saying a total ban makes it safer for everyone in the building.

In Minnesota it is a felony to possess a weapon in a courthouse without the consent of the sheriff.

The Floyd County supervisors say their next step in consulting with the county attorney before moving ahead with posting signs.

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