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updated: 1/23/2014 12:17 PM

Kane officials exploring concealed carry on county property

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Long before Illinois lawmakers approved concealed carry legislation, Kane County Chief Judge Judith Brawka warned officials that keeping guns out of the courthouse might not be as easy as it sounds.

Having someone break into your car and steal your cellphone is one thing, she said. Having them break in and steal your gun is another problem. Brawka said gun lockers at the courthouse might be the more appropriate course of action.

About eight months went by before county officials began to contemplate Brawka's concerns. Wednesday, with concealed carry already on the books, county officials found themselves still contemplating how to handle guns on county property.

Sheila McCraven, the county's human resources director, said Brawka, Sheriff Pat Perez and Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon could not fully agree among themselves on all the details of implementing concealed carry in county buildings. While McMahon and Perez dispute there is any disagreement with Brawka, members of the county board's Human Services Committee expressed a willingness to explore all the ramifications of who and when the public or employees can carry guns on public property.

"First, you look at it from an employee standpoint," board member Cristina Castro said. "Can they bring a gun on campus? Can they bring it to a work site? Concealed carry is the law, but we also have to look at liability. If we have a board meeting, and we allow weapons on campus, does that mean we have to have an officer here? I don't want to think negatively, but let's face it -- that's today's society."

Several board members said the best policy may be to ban all weapons on county property for anyone other than law enforcement personnel.

"Other than a police officer, there's no reason you need to have a gun if you're walking around this campus," said board member Mike Kenyon.

McCraven advised board members can simply stick with what the state law says, or they could impose a more restrictive policy.

The committee decided to research the issue more before taking a stance.

In an interview, Perez said he shares the same concerns Brawka has about weapons at the courthouse.

His only input, Perez said, was to advise against creating a designated parking area at the courthouse for people who would store their weapons in their vehicles while attending court.

"That's like putting up a sign advertising where you can come steal a gun," Perez said.

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