Gatesville: Commissioners ban handguns from county buildings

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GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) Coryell County Commissioners on Monday approved a court order banning handguns from all county buildings and ordered signs erected to notify citizens of the ordinance.

The order, which was provided to News 10, says, in part: “This prohibition shall also apply to handguns carried or possessed by a person having a handgun license or permit, whether the handgun is concealed or openly carried …”

The order applies to the county courthouse, courthouse annexes, justice centers, community supervision and corrections department and the juvenile probation and supervision departments.

The order applies to all licensed handgun carriers, whether a weapon is concealed or carried openly.

“This Commissioners' Court supports the right of handgun license holders to carry handguns,” the order says.

“However, those involved in the judicial process also have a right to safety and security.”

“Some have taken the position that a licensee is free to enter the building with a handgun, walk through shared halls, common areas, stairwells, etc., as long as the licensee does not enter an actual courtroom or actual court office.

‘However, this view disregards the fact that foyers, hallways, common areas, stairwells, elevators, restrooms, Judge’s chambers are used by the persons involved in the judicial process, including judges, jurors, witnesses, parties, prosecutors, attorneys, and judicial personnel and are areas integral and necessary to the operations of the Coryell County Court at Law and District Courts and Justice Courts trying judicial cases in Coryell County.”

The order goes on to say that divorce cases, child custody disputes, criminal cases, business or land disputes, and even traffic or code citations, are often emotionally charged.

Once in the building with a handgun, the order points out, nothing stops a person from coming into contact with judges, judicial officers, jurors, witnesses, prosecutors, attorneys, etc. in common areas, stairwells, hallways, etc.

The order does not apply to licensed peace officers.