The Supreme Court of Iowa recently handed American gun owners a small victory in mid-December, as lawful concealed carriers will no longer be prohibited from carrying in parts of county and municipal courthouses.
In the spring of 2017, the Iowa state legislature passed a sweeping set of laws that lifted restrictions on gun owners. Among those reforms included a provision allowing those with concealed carry permits to carry at the state capitol.
However, shortly after that reform package was passed, Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady issue an order banning firearms in all Iowa courthouses. That order was taken to court, and Cady handed down a decision reversing his own June edict, lifting the ban on carrying in courthouses, as Valley News Today reports.
The order is not a carte blanche license to carry in all parts of courthouses. One may only carry in the public areas, not in places that are totally occupied by the court system (a courtroom itself, for example). However, in order to enact a legal carry setup, local officials have some steps they will need to take.
The revised order allows county supervisors or other local government officials to file a written request to allow guns in the buildings.
When a request is made, the chief judge of the judicial district must write an order allowing guns in public areas that are not totally occupied by the court system.
Once a judge enters the order allowing guns, the state court system relinquishes to the requesting entity any authority over the regulation of weapons in the public areas, Cady’s order said.
Some courthouses, like the Pottawattamie County Courthouse, have security systems like metal detectors installed. Given that these courthouses may be areas where lawful permit holders can carry, such courthouses will have to alter their security regulations to accommodate those lawfully exercising their right to bear arms.
County Sheriff Jeff Danker has stated that controlled access will remain in place, but clearly something will have to change should their concealed carry regulations change. For the time being, Pottatattamie does not allow carry.
County Supervisor Justin Schultz believes that permit holders should be able to carry in the courthouse. As someone who describes himself as very pro-Second Amendment, he wants the ability to do so himself.
“It could be done with certain restrictions. I can’t carry at times, and it bothers me,” Schultz said. “You don’t want to be the guy without a gun in a gun fight, and you never know what’s going to happen when you walk out the door.”
Fellow supervisor Tom Hanafan is not as on board with the idea, saying that judges should be able to act as they see fit to protect their employees.
Of course, no one wants to see another person become a victim of a gunshot wound. However, statistically concealed carry permit holders are the most stable and law-abiding demographic in the country. If a person with a carry permit enters a given location while carrying, he/she is not going to just randomly snap and shoot another person; that’s not how the psyche works.
Illegal carry obviously should be prohibited, but that’s who law enforcement should be focusing on getting, not those who are doing things the right way.
It’s a small victory, where gun owners may be able to carry in certain public areas of courthouses, but we will take any victory we get these days.
H/T Bearing Arms