RACINE — An ordinance revision officially banning weapons in city-owned buildings is on its way to the City Council for final consideration.
The state’s concealed carry law went into effect in November 2011. Just before it went into place, Mayor John Dickert issued an executive order banning anyone other than law enforcement officers from bringing a gun or any other weapons into City Hall or other city-owned buildings.
On Wednesday the Committee of the Whole recommended 8-2 that the executive order be codified by sending an ordinance revision to City Council. Twelve of the committee’s 15 members were present for the vote. Chairman Jim Kaplan didn’t need to vote — as there was no tie — and Alderman Jim Morgenroth abstained.
Giving his reasons for abstaining, Morgenroth said he thought having signs banning people with concealed carry permits from bringing weapons into City Hall just gives “bad guys” the message that city buildings are a place where there is “no protection.”
“Without metal detectors or a physical search, we’re wide open to any crazy person doing what they would do elsewhere,” he said.
No aldermen spoke in favor of the ban, but Alderman Molly Hall asked if staff were in favor of prohibiting concealed weapons. City Attorney Scott Letteney said that he polled the heads of the city’s unions in October, and none of them said their membership was against a ban.
Later, at the City Council meeting that followed the committee meeting, aldermen voted to have the City Attorney’s Office draft an ordinance revision making other city rules governing the carrying of concealed weapons consistent with state law.
The two separate ordinances allow the city to ban weapons in city buildings while still following the new state law.
While the concealed carry law allows cities to ban concealed weapons in city-owned buildings, it also governs rules for the carrying of concealed weapons in a host of other places.
For instance, the state law prohibits any local government from banning someone with a concealed carry permit from carrying that weapon in a park, but the city still has ordinances on the books that do just that.
What comes next?
Final consideration of the City Hall weapons ban will likely occur when the City Council meets again on March 5.
Final consideration of ordinance revisions that would allow concealed carry in other parts of the city, such as city parks, could occur at that time as well.