Potter County Commissioners vote to keep guns out of courthouse

Potter County Commissioners vote to keep guns out of courthouse

Amarillo, TX -  A new state law is being challenged by Potter County Commissioners.

As of now, no guns are allowed in Potter County Courthouses and commissioners want to keep it that way, despite rulings from the state, as they say the safety of many is being compromised.

Come January 1st, Texans will be allowed to open carry. This rule will also hold true for county buildings...including courthouses.

But today Potter County Commissioners met to discuss a suggestion from the Attorney General and they say they will not allow firearms.

"Both houses we do family law, we do divorce cases, we do CPS cases, we do...we even had a guardianship case that got volatile one day and we had to literally kick the father out. So we have all kids of cases that are so emotionally charged, you don't want to put anybody in harm's way, including your own staff," says Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner.

"The idea has historically been that a courthouse is where you go to peaceably resolve your disputes and injecting guns into that adds an element of volatility and predictability that rightly has folks concerned...particularly those of us who work in a courthouse and who see how people react," says Potter County Attorney Scott Brumley.

But their choice to forgo the rules may face some consequences. Should the attorney general provide a notice, Potter County will have 15 days to change their rules, otherwise they face civil penalty fees as steep as $1,000-$5,000 a day.

But even if they do choose to enforce the rule, it will require more money and resources to secure officers to oversee gun holders.

"We will certainly as this matter progresses be very carefully catching the case and the facts surrounding circumstances trying to limit any potential exposure that ultimately the taxpayers would have to pay," says Brumley.

"We will see. If it comes down to it hopefully if we have to comply, we will go stage by stage, judge by judge and get a list if we have to do it, we'll get a list at the door saying if you have a gun, here's where you cannot go. Basically that's all I can do," says Tanner.

While commissioners chose to continue what they've been doing, they have decided to gather all judges around the county for further direction on the issue.