Metal detectors at the Woodbury County Courthouse.

Local leaders are trying to figure out how to implement a new state gun law which requires cities and counties to allow firearms in public buildings unless they provide armed security guards.

The chair of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, Doug Bailey, says their courthouse holds several different county offices, including the sheriff’s, which they’ve relied on to handle any disturbances in the building. Bailey’s not sure if they can afford the requirements of the new law if they don’t allow guns.

“And of course there’s no funding coming from the state to pay for it or acknowledge there’s a cost. And that may be a part of it –well you don’t have to do anything, so just let people come in with their weapons,” Bailey says. Bailey says all he’s been able to do so far is remove the “no gun” signs from the courthouse doors as he waits for the results of a security audit.

The Iowa League of Cities opposed the bill when it was moving through the legislature. Executive Director Alan Kemp says that’s because one of the league’s biggest priorities is maintaining local control.  “Cities would have preferred to have retained the authority to make this decision that they are most comfortable with for their city and their facilities because that’s going to change from community to community,” according to Kemp.

Kemp says he’s heard cities are still learning what this means for them and what buildings the law applies to. And he says most cities probably won’t feel that they can afford armed security, especially with economic disruptions caused by the pandemic. The new law began July 1st.

(By Katarina Sostaric , Iowa Public Radio)