Weapons Ban approved By Commission

Anyone who has visited the County Office Building or the Courthouse Annex recently has seen the new signs posted there, and at all county buildings, prohibiting the carrying of firearms, chemical sprays or weapons of any kind. At Monday evening’s county commission meeting Commissioner Austin Shaver questioned the ban and who has the authority to impose it.

Shaver said there are two issues involved - who has the authority to ban weapons and whether or not the county commission wants them banned.

Loudon County Mayor Doyle Arp said he had been asked by citizens about individuals carrying weapons on county property. He said he personally had no problem with handguns and himself has a carry permit. “I’m all about the 2nd Amendment,” Arp said. He added that just because a person has a carry permit does not guarantee they have the training to shoot an armed intruder at a public meeting. Arp said he had spoken with Ron Woody at the County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) who told him the ban was “borderline in court” and could be overturned. But Arp said he felt it was better safe than sorry and warned commissioners if they overturned the ban on weapons and an incident occurred, “it’ll be on you hands not on mine.”

Shaver said he was concerned that in the event of a problem there would be no protection for people at county buildings. He said if citizens could not defend themselves it was up to the county to provide “security for visitors and employees.” He added that banning even chemical sprays “left them pretty vulnerable.”

Commissioner Wayne Gardin said given recent events, including the church shooting in Knoxville he felt, “we’re not strict enough.”

The matter was put to a vote and Shaver, who drafted the resolution he himself opposed, was the only “no” vote as the commission voted to approve the ban. 

Arp On Gun Permits
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