Supervisors Discuss Security Amid Supreme Court Weapons Ban

Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a memorandum prohibiting weapons in Iowa courthouses. The order signed by Chief Justice Mark Cady does not apply to peace officers but it prohibits other visitors from carrying weapons into courthouses in all 99 counties.
Currently only 72 Iowa counties prohibit weapons in the courthouse by county ordinance or by order of the chief judge in the judicial district. 27 counties have no courthouse prohibition on weapons and ten counties have airport-like metal detectors at courthouse entrances. The memorandum was a topic of discussion at yesterday’s meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors.
Board Chair Dick Reed stated that other than law enforcement officers, the Board of Supervisors has banned weapons from the Courthouse since 2011.
Supervisor Lee Dimmitt expressed concerns over liability if security measures are breached, since the wording of the Supreme Court memorandum seems to leaves the responsibility of security to the County.
County Assistant Attorney Pat McAvan says things won’t change much, adding that the county has purchased security cameras and have had other measures in place for several years.
McAvan says communication between the courts and the Sheriff’s Department is vital and security is a balancing act between anticipating when extra security measures may be necessary and a total lockdown of the courthouse.
The Iowa Firearms Coalition believes the Supreme Court’s ban to be overreach on the part of the courts, adding the Iowa Supreme Court has no authority to dictate what happens in the public areas and offices outside Iowa’s courtrooms. The Iowa State Bar Association, representing approximately 8,000 lawyers, supports the court's action.