Commission appoints sheriff to implement new firearms law at courthouse

Published 3:17 pm Thursday, August 29, 2013

Davis clarified on Thursday that he would not be the only law enforcement officer who would be responsible for handling a situation involving someone who would be in violation of the new law.

“If someone walked into the courthouse carrying a gun, the quickest law enforcement officer who could get there and take care of that would have the authority to do so,” Davis said.

Davis said the new law states that no person other than law enforcement individuals could carry a gun at the courthouse but Davis is researching if that law would allow Davis to grant permission to certain personnel working inside the courthouse.

“I’m trying to determine if there are other departments in the courthouse bringing guns, and then I have to determine if those people are properly trained to be carrying those guns and if they are even allowed to carry those guns,” Davis said. “I am looking into everything right now to see if I can grant certain personnel permission to carry a weapon.”

Davis said the commission’s vote on Monday doesn’t change much for him other than coming up with a set of policies and procedures for securing the courthouse.

“I have always been under the impression that it was my job to secure the courthouse,” Davis said. “What really changes for me is researching the ways to go about implementing those policies.”

Caton said even though the law prohibits residents bringing a gun inside the courthouse or courthouse annex buildings, ‘no guns allowed’ signs would be placed on all of the doors.

“We thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and have the signs clearly visible,” Caton said.

A committee was formed May 13 with Caton, Davis and Chilton County EMA director Bill Collum to address security issues at the courthouse.

Collum told commissioners in May the Department of Homeland Security found 10 measures that could make the courthouse more secure and it was up to the commissioners to decide how much money they wanted to spend to secure the courthouse.

At the time, commissioners voted to commit up to $10,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund toward addressing security issues at the courthouse.

Although the committee was formed before the new gun law was implemented, Davis said he will continue researching his responsibility with the new gun law while developing policies for the security of the courthouse.

“Nothing really changed much for me with the commission’s vote on Monday,” Davis said. “I will always work to make sure the courthouse is secure because that is my responsibility.”