Texas AG rules handgun signs at local courthouse invalid - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Texas AG rules handgun signs at local courthouse invalid

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV

McLennan County leaders will have a tough decision to make in the next week or so regarding the signs prohibiting weapons at the McLennan County Courthouse.

On March 30th, the Texas Attorney General's office sent a letter to County Judge Scott Felton stating that the signs posted outside of the courthouse prohibiting weapons in the building are in violation of state law.  

The letter said, "Although both the courthouse and annex house government courts, such as district courts and county courts-at-law, not all of the offices located in the courthouse or the annex are offices essential to the operation of the courts."

The letter added that the commissioner's court and the district attorney's offices, for instance, are not judicial county administrative offices according to Penal Code. 

County Judge Scott Felton told News Channel 25 he disagrees with the Attorney General's decision.

"They're basing it on the fact that in their belief, every function in this building is not necessarily essential to the judicial process, in which we don't agree," said Felton.

The letter said that a political subdivision cannot prohibit licensed handgun holders from entering into an building simply because courts are in a portion of the building. 

"Not only the courthouse itself but the annex has nothing but judicial functions in it. So we have people moving in and out of here, and they're here for various types of courts and hearings and plea bargains and those things," said Felton. "[The courthouse] its not a place where everyone is happy. They're coming in here because of something that happened."

Judge Felton said he plans to fight the ruling. The county has 15 days from the time they received the letter to respond or comply and remove the signs.

If they fail to do that, the county could be liable for civil penalties of up to $10,500 each day the county is in violation. 

The McLennan County Commissioner's Court has a meeting scheduled for Friday morning at 9 a.m. to discuss their options on the matter.

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