Tyler County to increase security in response to 'Open Carry' law

Tyler County to increase security in response to 'Open Carry' law
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

TYLER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Commissioners in Tyler County plan to beef up security at the courthouse there in response to Texas' Open-Carry law.

Commissioners feel it's highly unlikely a would-be criminal will be deterred just by a sign banning the practice. So in place of a ban they're enhancing security.

"The best protection against a bad guy with a gun is for a good guy with a gun to be there," said Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette.

A fear of the unknown - it's what fueled the decision of commissioners in Tyler County to beef up security at their main courthouse in Woodville.

"Because we don't want to deny people their right in the Second Amendment, then it puts a different presence than what we've seen historically," Blanchette said.

The law, which took effect on January 1, makes it legal for licensed gun owners to carry openly. Other East Texas counties including Gregg, Smith and Angelina have signs along with metal detectors staffed with armed guards. Tyler County also has a part-time guard, and commissioners there say a sign isn't enough.

"A sign will do you absolutely no good from a person who's not wanting to do good," Blanchette said.

In response, they're upgrading their part-time security officer to full-time.

"To go ahead and let any potential actor that might come in and want to create some disturbance know that there's always somebody watching around and closely nearby with a gun," Blanchette said.

As it stands, that part-time position pays $800 a month. An increase in time on the job means an increase in contribution from taxpayers.

"It's a minimum amount just simply to transfer this money into this position to fund it, in contrast to the huge expense that it would be in the loss of a life and possibility of a change in life," Blanchette said.

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