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Courthouse Guns

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News video: Courthouse Guns

A rule about carrying a concealed weapon in a courthouse that has been on the books for years is now being enforced.


Courthouse Guns

If you have a concealed carry permit, you still need to leave your gun in the car when you go to the lowndes county courthouse ... if a judicial proceeding is going on.

The rule has been on the books for a few years, but is now being enforced.

A retired law enforcement officer says that change is illegal.

Wcbi's summer rascoll joins us live in the studio with more.

Joey, board of supervisor's president harry sanders says mr. rick ward's beef is not with the supervisors, but with the chancery judges who made the decision.

No guns in the courtroom during a judicial proceeding, is the norm in mississippi, butn lowndes county that now extends two hundred feet -- which means the entire courthouse -- is now a concealed carry free zone.

" those who have an enhanced permit, can go into a courthouse, except a courtroom during judicial proceeding, that doesn't allow the judge to extend it out 200 feet.

That's ridiculous" retired military and civilian law enforcement officer rick ward says adding the extra 200 feet is not only illegal but puts people in harms way.

" if you bolster security in the courthouse, then what's gonna happen is the shooter's going to wait till you come outside, or they're gonna go to your home.

All 3 federal judges that have been killed, were killed at their homes."

Protecting courthouse employees and citizens is exactly why board of supervisors president harry sanders says three judges instructed the board to make the change.

" a lot of times there were witnesses , a lot of times family members , and those people out in the hallway, outside the door of the courtroom."

And ward says only the sheriff has the right to make that decision.

" the supreme court ruled that the statutory authority for protecting the courthouse, is solely on the sheriff, and it's not ambiguous.

" sanders says he doesn't see a reason to change the current policy.

" i don't know any legitimate reason why some private citizen needs to be in a courtroom, or in the courthouse when court is in session with a concealed weapon."

Ward says, it's the law and he will keep fighting till a change is made.

"file a complaint with the attorney general's office indicating that they're violating the law.

The attorney general's office will send an investigator out here in a week or two, and they'll make that determination, and they'll provide the board with an letter telling then they either are or are not in violation."

If they are found in violation, they will have 30 days to make the change, if not ward can take the individual board members to civil court.

Ward has fought similar changes in 13 different counties across the state; he says he's won all 13 times .

3 counties refused to change, but joey, they eventually settled out of court and made the switch.

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