St. Charles County officials may start to post more explicit notices prohibiting carrying weapons into the County Council chambers, its conference rooms and offices.
The county already posts signs prohibiting weapons in county buildings, and its present ordinances specifically mention the county Courts Administration building, Juvenile Justice Center and Justice Center. A bill introduced at the council’s Aug. 8 meeting amends the county’s existing bill to add council chambers, conference rooms and offices.
But the council did not take final vote on the bill at the meeting, agreeing to a request from Councilman and Council President Joe Cronin [District 1] to table it, to allow further review by the county counselor’s office. The next council meeting is Aug. 29.
Responding to a comment from a resident in the public comment portion of the meeting, Cronin said the amended bill, which would require notices to be posted at office entrances, does not limit the 2nd Amendment right to carry firearms.
Cronin said state statutes already prohibit the bringing of a firearm into the council chambers and meeting rooms because it’s an local unit of government. State law also prohibits persons who have concealed carry permits to carry firearms into county buildings. Qualified law enforcement officers are allowed to openly carry a firearm in courts and council offices.
“Our purpose is that everyone knows that and you are all safe,” Cronin said. The bill would require an 11-inch by 14-inch sign to be posted at each council chamber, conference room and office. The sign would state that no “guns, knives or other weapons allowed in this council room unless in possession of qualified law enforcement officer.”
The bill states that no circuit or associate circuit judge with a concealed carry permit is prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon into court offices or juvenile and justice center offices. No county elected official or staff member with a concealed carry permit is prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon into council offices, the new bill adds.
Cronin said “no comment” when asked if council members or council staff had received any threats.