Montague County passes handgun carry policy for all its buildings

Just eight hours shy of the new year, Montague County Commissioners approved an open-carry policy for its buildings outlining by order all the offices where persons are allowed to exercise their open carry rights.

The commissioners met on New Year’s Eve to vote on the proposed policy developed by a committee earlier in the week.

County Judge Rick Lewis said the committee used a policy from another county and tweak to suit local resources.

While the new open carry law that began Jan. 1 outlines where a licensed person may carry a holstered weapon, it does have restrictions for schools, courts, airports, racetracks or polling places on voting days.

County and city governments are examining what constitutes a “government court.” The open carry statute states one of the places firearms can be prohibited is “on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court.”

Commissioners are considering five courts including themselves, two justice of the peace courts, county court and 97th district court. Recent attorney general opinions have indicated the restrictions can only be in courtrooms and offices specifically related to court operations.

The policy describes in length the “affected buildings.” Lewis said they felt it was important to make the facilities “as safe as we can and meet the law.”

Each of the presiding judges outlined their use areas and prohibitions for open carry. Virtually every county offices is included. Read the full story and list of offices in the mid-week News.