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Gun law goes into effect Tuesday

POSTED: June 30, 2014 12:04 a.m.
 

FORSYTH COUNTY — Georgia House Bill 60, which allows those with carry permits to bring guns into government buildings and other venues such as churches, goes into effect Tuesday.

However, Forsyth residents won’t see many changes at county government facilities, other than the removal of some signs that say weapons are prohibited.

The county commission has been discussing the law for several weeks during work sessions. Other than removing signage, however, the commissioners haven’t reached any consensus on measures that should be taken, although many options have been pondered.

At a work session June 10, commissioners toyed with the idea of having either certified sheriff’s deputies or security guards screen visitors for weapons as they entered county buildings.

However, Pat Carson, the county’s personnel services director, said providing such staffing would cost about $155,000 per year per entry point, factoring in salary and benefit expenses for several people.

Commissioners also discussed a change to the county employee handbook that would prohibit most staff members from carrying weapons to work.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard told commissioners during their most recent work session, on June 24, that they aren’t alone in being unsure about what do.

“There’s no question that [state lawmakers] have placed upon the local governments the obligation to make these sorts of difficult policy decisions,” he said.

“I can’t answer those questions for you, all I can tell you is they’re being debated in 150-some-odd counties.”

No action regarding any of the ideas has been taken by the commission and Jarrard reminded officials June 24 that no action regarding the new law is mandatory.

“There’s no requirement that we do anything to implement this bill,” he said. “I would recommend that we take down any signage that says weapons are prohibited, because that’s not going to be true anymore and we’ll get challenged on that. But as far as policy modification or hiring new individuals to screen our doors, there’s no requirement that we do any of that.

“But on the other hand, you may want to think about it.”

Commissioners plan to continue to do just that and further discuss possible changes to policies and procedures as a result of the law at upcoming work sessions. The next is set for 2 p.m. July 8.

 

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