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County delays gun ban

Members of the St. Louis County Council are waiting until the state concealed-carry law takes effect before they vote on legislation that would ban firearms in all county and county-owned buildings.

Councilman Kurt Odenwald, R-Shrews-bury, said he had discussed the ramifications of the bill with County Counselor Pat Redington, and he moved to hold the bill at the council's Sept. 22 meeting.

"She has advised us that we should not finally pass this bill until the state laws become effective, which is Oct. 11 and to also look at the possible revisions to the language to make sure it comports with the statute."

The first council meeting after the state law becomes effective will be Oct. 14.

Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, said he supports the legislation and, as far as he knows, enforcing it should not be a problem.

"I feel safe with the current police force we have right now and I think they will do the same job then that they are doing now," he said. "So, I feel safe. I'll still feel safe even after this law passes. The legislation is coming down the pipe. We just can't go forward for legal reasons."

Campisi said the county doesn't plan on spending money on additional personnel, metal detectors or detector wands for officers in response to the proposed legislation. Current equipment will be sufficient, he said.

"I'm sure if someone tries to come walking in with one of those and they're caught, there's going to be a hefty fine," he said. "I don't think anybody really would want to try it."

If police identify an individual with a concealed firearm, the individual will be asked to leave the building or face a $100 fine, according to the proposed legislation.

Upon a second violation within a six-month time period, the individual's concealed weapon permit would be suspended for one year and he or she would face a $200 fine.

A third violation would result in a $500 fine along with revoking the concealed-weapon permit. The individual would not be allowed to reapply for the endorsement for at least three years.

New signage will be in place letting building employees and visitors know they cannot bring weapons into county buildings, Campisi said.

But the Department of Public Works is waiting to hear from councilmen or other county officials what types of signs are needed, their sizes, locations and what specific language will be displayed on them.

Gary Heizer, deputy director of public works, said the county, most likely, will contract out the signage request to a private vendor, but the department is waiting on the legislation's requirements to go through before it can proceed.

"We don't want to put up something that is not appropriate to what the ordinance requires," he said. "I would think security would not allow any dead time between the time the state statute goes into effect and the time the county ordinance is passed so there is no lapse in security."

Heizer said police officers may post paper signage until permanent signs are available.

"We will definitely have some sort of signs," he said.

Until the department knows more spe-cifics, he said, he could not offer an estimate on how much money the county will have to spend on placing signs in all county and county-owned buildings.

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