Wed, June 26

Supervisors: No change in gun policy

PRESCOTT - After several residents spoke about their right to carry firearms under the Second Amendment and the state Constitution, the county supervisors took no action Monday on a proposal for people to check their guns at the door when entering county buildings.

Sheriff Steven Waugh said that a law passed a year ago says that gun lockers and warning signs can be provided at the entrances to government buildings to prevent people from bringing guns inside and asked the supervisors to discuss the issue.

"In some offices employees are intimidated by folks that bring in firearms strapped to their sides," Waugh said, adding that in some situations those gun-toting people can be "hostile" to unarmed county employees.

"I don't see it as a violation of Second Amendment rights," Waugh said. "We have people come into our facilities who are not happy campers."

County Recorder Ana Wayman-Trujillo said her employees have told her they're concerned, especially about a group of people who claim to monitor election integrity and go from county to county carrying guns, knives and making demands of election officials. Wayman-Trujillo said later that the group originated in Pima County.

"I believe my employees should not have to come to work and deal with this," she said. Wayman-Trujillo would like to put gun lockers at the entrance to her office but she learned the lockers would have to be placed at the front door of the building under the new law. Noting that her family has a hunting business, Wayman-Trujillo said that she favors gun rights.

"Would it solve this if our employees carry guns?" Supervisors Chairman Chip Davis joked.

Supervisor Carol Springer said that "the bad guys" would not be deterred by a sign and a lockbox. Also, putting the gun safes in all county buildings would be "terribly expensive."

"It's the bad guys who are going to do it with or without a policy," Springer said.

Metal detectors and guards would be needed to ensure complete safety, Supervisor Tom Thurman added.

"How many shootings have we had in Yavapai County?" he asked. "Zero," he said, answering his own question.

Ken Miller, pastor of Beaver Creek Baptist Church in Rimrock, said he supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms over "an imagined fear."

"A policy is not going to prevent crime," said Ron Younger of Prescott. "A bad guy is going to do what he is going to do."

Paul Dunn, a Prescott lawyer, objected to having to fill out a form when checking his gun to enter the courthouse that asks for the serial number of the gun and "all kinds of personal information."

However, Court Administrator Debi Schaefer said that policy is no longer in effect. The county courthouses, manned by security guards, also have metal detectors.

Davis, who has a gun locker at his office, said to be in conformity with the new law he will move it to the Justice of the Peace's office.

In other business:

• Michael Holmes, director of Management Information Services, told the supervisors about a project from the State of Arizona Counties Communication network (SACCnet) to provide broadband Internet services to rural schools and libraries. Yavapai County will receive $3.8 million of a $52 million grant for the entire state. Residents of those areas also will benefit as private companies then link into the system from the hubs at the schools and libraries, he said.

Tim Carter, county school superintendent, told the board the improvements will help school districts provide subjects via the Internet that they could not otherwise afford to teach. The supervisors then adopted a resolution in favor of the SACCnet plan.

• The supervisors also passed a resolution acknowledging the delay in spending a $50 million loan earmarked for building projects. Internal Revenue rules required that they spend $42.5 million within three years but because of delays with the new juvenile justice center, that amount has not been expended. Previously, the board repaid $25 million of the loan.