- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has issued an administrative order banning guns and other weapons in and around judicial offices in north Iowa courthouses.

Second Judicial District chief judge Kurt Wilke gave the order Oct. 12, according to the Globe Gazette (http://bit.ly/2eDkMms ). The ban covers the district’s 22 counties.

Areas where weapons are prohibited include courtrooms, jury rooms, clerks’ offices, judges’ chambers, court reporter offices, juvenile court offices, judicial administrative offices, as well as hallways, lobbies and conference rooms.

Wilke said the goal of the ban is to remove weapons from situations where emotions are elevated and there could be an increased threat.

“The idea is, in the courtroom setting a lot of times emotions are very high, particularly when you get into domestic issues and that sort of thing,” Wilke said.

Law enforcement and court officers are exempt from the ban, which is based on security recommendations by the Iowa State Association of Counties and the Iowa Judicial Council.

Iowa Firearms Coalition Board Member Richard Rogers said he understands the security concerns, but believes the order overreaches when it prohibits citizens from carrying weapons in public areas outside of court venues.

“Outside of the courtroom and court offices, what reason or right does the district court judge have to force Iowans … to give up the defensive tools that they carry with them everywhere else?” Rogers asked.

Chad Colby of Hart Weaponry in Mason City said that the ban won’t stop a non-law-abiding person from using a gun in the courthouses. Wilke still stresses that the ban is not about taking away gun rights, but putting emphasis on safety for the area.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

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