Racine aldermen vote for right to carry guns in city-owned buildings
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
RACINE - Right now, only law enforcement and some military members are allowed to carry guns in city-owned buildings. But an alderman in Racine wants to add elected officials to that list, citing security concerns.
But gun rights advocates say that's not fair to everyone else. Wednesday night, the Common Council disagreed.
State law says that if you see a no guns sign, you can't carry a weapon inside. Racine Alderman Greg Helding wants to change that for elected officials in city buildings. He says it is just like DAs and judges being allowed to carry guns in courtrooms.
"Presumably they're in a safe environment there,” Helding said. “The weapons aren't allowed in and they have a bailiff. Here we don't have any kind of protection."
Several people spoke out against that philosophy at the Common Council meeting Wednesday night, when members were slated to vote on the measure.
"This is about elected officials who believe they're above the law," one attendee to the meeting said.
"They should live by the rules they're creating for the rest of us," said another.
Helding says he's no better, but he argues he and his colleagues are different, saying they're easy marks with public schedules telling strangers where they'll be and when.
"If you look around the country, from Missouri, to just this week in Texas, public officials have been targets of violent acts,” he said. “Whereas just a random citizen being in the building is a different scenario.”
But several in the audience said if they're in the same building, they should get the same privilege, calling it justice for all.
"You deprive us of a constitutional right, but then turn around and give it to yourselves,” said an opponent to the ruling. “That is just incomprehensible."
The measure passed Wednesday night with only a handful of aldermen voting against it. As for Alderman Helding, he said he doesn't know if he'll ever bring a gun in the building. He's just glad to know he can.