Boards of Supervisors in at least two Iowa counties have voted to get rid of bans on weapons inside their courthouses.
The action is in conflict with an order by Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady banning weapons in courthouses in all 99 counties.
The new state gun law that goes into effect Saturday says local governments can be sued over weapons restrictions. Supervisors in Woodbury County have voted to lift their ban on guns in the courthouse in Sioux City.
“To not do so would place us in the untenable position of being sued as a board and then answering for doing something that we knew was wrong in the first place and so I was not prepared to do that,” says Matthew Ung, chairman of the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors. “Fortunately, a majority of the board was not either.”
However, Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew says he will obey the order from the chief justice and continue to provide security at the courthouse door — keeping firearms out of the building. Woodbury County supervisors had banned weapons in their courthouse since 2014. Ung says the chief justice has the authority over the courtrooms inside the building, but not the entire courthouse.
“A majority of our board had a problem with that,” Ung says.
Madison County Supervisors also have voted to lift their ban on weapons in the courthouse in Red Oak.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell/Photo Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)