County limits handguns areas

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The Madison County Commissioner’s Court took steps Monday to limit the areas of county property where people can carry firearms.

The move was in response to the open carry law, which went into effect Jan. 1, and which allows licensed individuals to openly carry weapons, particularly on public property.

However, the law allows weapons to be banned in certain areas, such as courtrooms, court offices and other areas deemed essential to the operation of the courts.

The resolution passed by the county bans weapons in the County Clerk’s Office, the Justice of the Peace offices and courtrooms; District Courtroom, District Clerk’s Office and grand jury meeting room; District Judge’s office; Adult Probation; County Judge’s office; Juvenile Probation; and County Courtroom.

The resolution states that signs will be placed in affected areas. It also states that certified law enforcement officers and court officers have been granted exceptions to the resolution.

“The statutes are very specific as to the designated areas you can ban weapons from,” said County Judge C.E. McDaniel Jr. “Some of them don’t make any sense, and I’m sure there’s going to be many challenges (to the law).

“I’m expecting things to change, because this is an ill-conceived piece of legislation,” he said.

The motion was passed unanimously.

In other business, the county:

•approved the county investment policy, which is done annually;

•approved bids for road material and hauling for the county for the year;

•approved a memorandum of understanding with Brazos Valley Council of Governments for the provisions of transportation services for county residents;

•tabled the approval of a mineral lease on land in the James Christian and John T. Vaughn surveys; and

•approved two contracts with Davis, Heinemann and Co. for auditing services for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

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