Law-abiding citizens with permits shouldn't be restricted in their ability to carry concealed weapons.
This was the argument from a handful of concealed permit carriers to the Webster County Board of Supervisors during a Tuesday morning discussion. The board is considering a weapon-free zone resolution that would pertain to county owned buildings and property.
Allison McBride, of Fort Dodge, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, said it the state not local governments that has the power to regulate weapons.
Supervisors meeting, 2/2/2011
"The proposal to pass resolution to ban firearms in government facilities was initiated when Attorney General Tom Miller wrote a letter to all county attorneys suggesting they do so," McBride said. "House Study Bill 19 introduced into legislation last week to make it clear that the state not local government regulates guns and ammunition. Putting up a sign banning guns would be giving employees a false sense of security. No criminal will be thwarted by a sign, and permit holders are not criminals."
The study bill referenced by McBride specifies that the state is the only authority that can regulate the weapons, with few exceptions which exclude local governments.
"If you truly feel security is needed, you should ban guns, get a metal detector and security at the door," McBride continued. "Citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights shouldn't have them taken away by fearmongering."
Robin Ulicki, of Fort Dodge, addressed the board as a homeschooling mother who takes safety very seriously and also has a permit to carry concealed weapons.
"While a gun ban sounds good on the surface it still won't keep us safe because we know criminals don't comply with gun bans," Ulicki said. "If you're talking about banning guns anywhere, the first thing we should realize is our safety is our own personal responsibility."
Ulicki went on to say that one-half of 1 percent of crime is intercepted by law enforcement.
"Our gun ban on government property pays lip service to safety, but in theory claims one thing while on the contrary accomplishes the opposite," she said. "It makes use victims."
Dr. Roger Howland, president of the Rifle and Pistol Club of Fort Dodge, told the board permit holders are law abiding citizens that go to the trouble of taking classes and purchasing permits from the Sheriff's Department.
"A ban on firearms of county property further removes the rights we have and puts restrictions on law abiding citizens," said Howland.
Others echoed the previous three speakers sentiments. No spoke in favor of banning guns from county property.
Webster County Sheriff Brian Mickelson said simply banning guns won't deter people.
"I don't think you'll be able to stop someone coming in unless you really secure the building," Mickelson said. "A ban on guns won't stop them."
He said people who legally carry concealed weapons may be able to stop a potential shooting, but he's more concerned with the permit process itself.
He cited concerns that tests aren't standardized across the state, and alleged some people are only asked to sign a sheet of paper. Additionally, he said shooting a gun is an option for a permit and not a requirement.
"Giving someone a gun who hasn't handled it before, is like giving them a drivers license without ever driving a car," Mickelson said. "It kind of scares me giving someone a gun, and they've never shot it. That's not very smart."
He would like to see Iowa's gun laws mirror Minnesota's, which issue a standardized test.
The board didn't take action on issuing a weapon-free zone.
The Webster County attorney's office is working with the Sheriff's Department to produce signs that explain how citizens can apply for and renew permits to carry concealed weapons.
Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org