The Reidsville City Council voted in December to install gun-free zone signs at City Hall and Mayor Sydney Clifton announced on Monday that the signs had been ordered, but after a short investigation, it appears such a move may be out of order.
Clifton said Monday that there was a request in December to only allow law enforcement officials to carry a weapon in City Hall. Council approved the measure at the time of the request. The vendor is set to measure for signs on Friday.
Clifton said Monday, “We’ve had some people come in up front there with two or three firearms on them and all that and we don’t need nothin’ like that here.”
State law prohibits unauthorized persons from carrying firearms into government buildings, courthouses, and other locations, but has an explicit stipulation for license holders when it comes to government buildings. Specifically, if there is no security checkpoint with a law enforcement officer and/or metal detector for security purposes, a licensed weapons carry permit holder cannot be barred from entering.
O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127 (e)(1) reads:
A license holder shall be authorized to carry a weapon in a government building when the government building is open for business and where ingress into such building is not restricted or screened by security personnel. A license holder who enters or attempts to enter a government building carrying a weapon where ingress is restricted or screened by security personnel shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if at least one member of such security personnel is certified as a peace officer pursuant to Chapter 8 of Title 35; provided, however, that a license holder who immediately exits such building or immediately leaves such location upon notification of his or her failure to clear security due to the carrying of a weapon shall not be guilty of violating this subsection or paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section. A person who is not a license holder and who attempts to enter a government building carrying a weapon shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Exclusions apply if the government building houses a courthouse, a jail, or prison, which Reidsville City Hall does not, as the Reidsville Police Department is around the corner at the old City Hall location.
If Reidsville seeks to bar citizens from carrying a weapon at City Hall, they must create a manned security checkpoint at the door.