Open carry ban being considered

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Two recent incidents involving openly carried firearms in Jefferson County facilities led county officials to suggest the practice be limited.

At their April 23 staff briefing, the Jeffco Board of County Commissioners heard from Sheriff Ted Mink, and Assistant County Attorney Writer Mott, requesting that the commissioners adopt an emergency ordinance that would allow certain county buildings to prohibit the open carrying of a gun.

“It’s constitutionally recognized, not illegal, but it is alarming,” Mink said.

Human Services Executive Director Lynn Johnson said that some individuals come into Human Services offices concerning emotionally charged issues.

“What I found in this most recent incident, our deputies hands were somewhat tied,” Johnson said.

In that case, the individual was asked to leave the firearm in his vehicle, and refused, becoming confrontational with security.

Mink said the Sheriff’s Department would initially look to enact the ban for three departments that experience “more volatile situations.” Those include Human Services, the District Attorney’s office, and his own.

County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson said she would be interested in having the ban apply to her department areas as well.

Library Division Executive Director Pam Nissler said a recent threat evaluation by the Sheriff’s Department found the county’s libraries to be “soft targets” for violence, and that she too would request the ban there as well.

Anyone with a concealed-carry permit would still be allowed to bring a concealed firearm into buildings covered by the ban. Law enforcement would also be excluded from its provisions.

Secured facilities, such as the county courthouse, would continue to ban all firearms.

“Someone coming in, intent on doing harm, a sign isn’t going to stop them,” District 3 County Commissioner Donald Rosier said.

District 2 Commissioner Casey Tighe said he was more concerned about the open carrying of a firearm being used for intimidation of county staff.

“The visual idea of a gun being carried into any public place would be disturbing to me. If I saw somebody walk in here with a gun, I would push the panic button,” District 1 Commissioner Faye Griffin said during the meeting.

The proposed ordinance will be placed on a future commissioners meeting for discussion and possible approval.

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