The city council in Mason City plans to vote as soon as next week on an ordinance to ban guns from all public buildings. The action comes because a city council candidate and a retired cop, Gary Horn, has been carrying a gun with him to meetings.
Councilman John Jaszewski doesn’t like Horn’s habit. Jaszewski says the city’s personnel handbook says you can’t have a weapon on city property as an employee, but that may not apply to this situation. He suggests making the ordinance read that no one but a sworn, serving police officer can have a dangerous weapon on city property.
Horn, meanwhile, says he has the right to carry a weapon, and while he is retired from law enforcement, he feels he has an extra responsibility to protect the public. Jaszewski says there’s already law enforcement at council meetings.
He says: "That’s why we have a police officer there. Every meeting there’s a police officer. Workshop sessions, regular meetings, we always have a police officer standing by. That’s his job. I hate the thought of another weapon being fired in a public place with innocent citizens sitting around. I just think it would be inappropriate for him to pull a weapon at such a time."
Jaszewski says Horn needs to let the police handle public protection at meetings. All five members of the council say they support a gun ban, but Mayor Roger Bang says he’d veto such a ban.