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Platte County commissioners considering allowing guns in government buildings

Posted at 8:08 PM, Nov 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-13 23:38:04-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Platte County commissioners are discussing possibly allowing guns inside county buildings in response to mass shootings across America.

The current ordinance bans guns inside of county facilities, including the Platte County Circuit Court building.

However, following the shooting at a Texas church on Nov. 5th that claimed the lives of 26 people, county leaders were looking to possibly change the rule.

“When the massacre happened in Texas a week ago, that really brought it to the forefront,” explained commissioner John Elliot. “If it's someone that's trained on the use of a gun, I'm totally comfortable. I'd rather be around people that know how to use a gun."

Elliot has served as a commissioner since being elected one year ago.

Since being in office, Elliot told 41 Action News that he has seen how county meetings can sometimes bring tension.

“We deal with issues that people take personally, whether it's their land value, their property value, their property rights,” he said.  “Things are seeming to get contentious all the time. You never know what's going to set somebody off." 

Following tragedies seen in recent years across the country, Elliot said one way to improve safety could be allowing guns inside the county buildings.

“If you're not safe in a school and you're not safe at a church on Sunday morning, where are you safe?" the commissioner explained. “There are stories where good people with guns have stopped bad people with guns, as was the case in Texas."

Despite the Platte County Sheriff’s Office being located in the same building where county meetings are held, Elliot said allowing guns inside could help lead to a quick response during an emergency.

“Even here with the Sheriff's Office not that far away, it's going to take five minutes,” he explained. 

News of the possible change with guns was met with mixed reactions around Platte City on Monday.

Bill Wade, the owner of Centerfire Central, said he supported the possible move.

“The normal gun owner is not the issue,” he explained. “If the county is okay with it, I don't have a problem with it." 

When asked about potential concerns people may have regarding the possible change, Elliot said opponents shouldn't be afraid.

“The people who have some concerns is simply because they're not comfortable with guns, they don't have guns, or they don't use guns,” he explained.

The possible gun change is far from official.

County commissioners have held light discussions on the matter and plan to hold more moving forward.

Elliot also told 41 Action News that the commissioners plan to speak with deputies, the county prosecutor, and fellow office holders about the issue.

“We're going to listen to a lot of people to find out what is allowed and what isn't allowed,” he explained. “What people are comfortable with, what they're not comfortable with."

Elliot added that the possible gun change would likely lead to guns still not being allowed inside the county jail and courthouse.