POCATELLO, Idaho - The Bannock County Courthouse is enacting some changes this week after finding one of its security laws was non-compliant with the state.
A county ordinance enacted back in 1997 made it a misdemeanor for unauthorized personnel to bring weapons into the courthouse. But, according to the county commissioners, about three years ago state lawmakers passed a statute, saying only the state can determine who can carry guns and where.
County commissioners said on Wednesday this realization came as a surprise to everyone who had not been aware the statute change would have an impact on the courthouse's security laws.
"We were unaware of this," Commissioner Howard Manwaring said. "We were unaware that any change had taken place and all of a sudden we were told there was an issue."
On Tuesday Sixth District Judge Stephen Dunn signed an executive order to uphold the former county-based security laws in the courthouse. Since the Idaho Supreme Court has given Dunn the authority to enact this executive order, the security laws everyone has been used to for almost 20 years is now compliant with the state's laws.
"All my administrative order is designed to do is to exercise the authority that the law the (Idaho) Supreme Court has given to the courts to make sure that all available and appropriate security measures are in place as it applies to any facility and any building where any court-related service is provided," Dunn said.
Dunn also mentioned this is an issue regarding the degree to what authority courts have because it applies to security issues.
"It's a community issue and we want to make sure our court-related facilities are as safe as we can be and we do not want weapons in those buildings," Dunn said. "That's the bottom line. So we are trying to regulate that to the maximum extent possible so that our court facilities are safe."
This executive order went into effect starting Tuesday.
Dunn also mentioned this executive order will require all six districts he presides over to implement some sort of security system in their courthouses that their budgets and circumstances will allow.
He also mentioned this is not the first district who has been faced with trying to mediate this same issue.
"Interestingly enough, I found orders that have been entered in other districts where this has already happened; there was one back in Ada County back in 2005."
Bannock County Deputy Prosecutor Ian Service said during Wednesday's commissioner's meeting this was discovered before anyone had been charged with a misdemeanor because of this.
We are currently working to get our copy of the administrative order uploaded to this page.