Thursday, June 27, 2013
NorCo Officials Scramble To Protect Staff From Gun Violence
Under state law, firearms are banned inside inside a "court facility," which does included the "offices of court clerks." Does that include an elections office? Since that office is one of the historic row offices and has traditionally been located at the courthouse, I'd say it does. But reasonable people can argue just as convincingly that it does not. Because of this uncertainty, some Council members began to consider adoption of an ordinance that would ban weapons at all County-owned property.
Preliminary research reveals that Northampton County enacted exactly this kind of ordinance in 1988, and amended it in 2007. Under this law, no one can enter upon County-owned property with a firearm.
But what about the Centralized Human Services building? The County will lease, not own that property, for at least the next five years. So it appears that the ordinance needs an amendment to include leased property.
This is where state law gets in the way. It expressly prohibits any gun regulation by municipal government. But this is not gun regulation. The County is regulating the use of its own property.