LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Angelina County Commissioners made it official today that the main courthouse will be a gun -free zone.
In a 4-to-1 vote, the commissioners agreed to not allow concealed and open carry of fire arms at the courthouse. The commissioners also agreed to allow the banning of guns under specific circumstances from the half of the annex courthouse that houses the commissioners courtroom.
County Judge Wes Suiter said that part of the building will not allow guns any time court or a public meeting is taking place. People coming to the annex would be notified by the placing of temporary signs. The half of the annex that houses the tax offices will not be affected by the ban.
The vote did bring concern from Rick Higgins who has threatened to submit a complaint to the State Attorney General about the stand to not allow open carry.
"They want to restrict honest victims and make them citizens," Higgins said. "They want to take our weapons out of our holsters and out of our control."
Higgins was joined by Terry Holcombe of Texas Open Carry.
"I'll put the commissioners on notice, the moment this passes I am going to file," Holcombe said. "It is in direct violation of the law."
Commissioner Bobby Cheshire was the one vote against.
"Why do we need more restrictions?" he said.
Angelina County judges disagreed.
"I like people who are regularly trained and certified to be the ones with the weapons," said District Judge Paul White.
"People we consider to to be law-abiding citizens can snap under divorce and child custody cases," said County-Court-at-Law Judge Derek Flournoy.
All the judges inside the county courthouse believe the current security is enough protection without the need to have citizens carry guns.
Current security has at least two guards at the door with a metal detector and multiple deputies and bailiffs patrolling the halls of the two stories accessible to the public.
After the meeting, Cheshire agreed that the county has a responsibility to protect its citizens, but he still supports the people fighting for their Second Amendment rights.
"The way you stop unlawful people from using a gun is with lawful people using a gun in a proper manner," Cheshire said.
Suiter said he hopes the legislature will follow up on the issue in the next session.
"I'm sure it will be addressed," he said. "There are just two many questions out there that don't know which way to go."
Cheshire said even though he voted "no" on the ban, he'll support the county and the other elected officials if a complaint is filed against the county.
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