There’s a new policy in force at the Woodbury County Courthouse in Sioux City that limits who may carry weapons into the building.
A new state law allows people with permits to carry concealed weapons in public buildings, but the chief justice of Iowa’s Supreme Court has declared that court-controlled areas in public buildings would remain “weapons-free” zones. In June, though, the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors voted to allow guns in the courthouse.
This week, the chief judge in Iowa’s third judicial district banned the public from bringing weapons into the courthouse in Sioux City as well as the adjacent law enforcement center and the second floor of a nearby building where juvenile court hearings are held. Woodbury County Board of Supervisors chairman Matthew Ung objects.
“No one disputes the court’s right and responsibility to secure and set policy for their courtroom,” Ung said. “But when my courtroom becomes my eight-story courthouse and the law enforcement center and the second floor of Trosper Hoyt, you have judicial overreach.”
Law enforcement officers and members of the military who are on duty will be allowed to carry weapons in the complex, but off duty officials will have to surrender their weapons at the entrance.
“I don’t think law enforcement is ever off duty and, indeed, there are many cases where they have prevented crimes and saved lives,” Ung said, “so I think to disarm people like that sends an extremely wrong message to our community.”
The issue is not on the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors agenda for next Tuesday, according to Ung, but Ung said he wouldn’t be surprised if someone files a lawsuit challenging this new policy.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)