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Aldermen want to exempt elected officials from City Hall weapons ban
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Aldermen want to exempt elected officials from City Hall weapons ban

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RACINE — Elected city officials with concealed carry licenses would be exempt from an ordinance banning weapons in city-owned buildings, under an ordinance amendment approved 13-0 Tuesday by the City Council’s Committee of the Whole.

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 weapon into City Hall or other city-owned buildings.

On Feb. 20 the Committee of the Whole recommended 8-2 that the executive order be codified by drafting an ordinance.

When the committee met on Tuesday to review the ordinance, Alderman Greg Helding requested an amendment that would allow elected officials to carry concealed weapons in city-owned buildings if they are properly licensed by the state.

Helding explained that elected officials could be easy marks for violence, and that being allowed to carry concealed weapons in city buildings could help them to protect themselves.

To his point, he read several posts from local blogs in which critics of elected city officials made violent references.

“We are the one (group of people affected by the ban) who publicly announce ahead of time when and where we will be in a completely unguarded and publicly accessible place,” he said.

Helding, who has a concealed carry license, said he wasn’t even sure if he would start bringing a weapon to meetings if the measure passed, but said he thought he should have the ability to.

The entire ordinance revision, including updates making other city rules governing the carrying of concealed weapons consistent with state law, is slated to be approved by the City Council at its next meeting on April 3.

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