Clarksville committee to discuss future of weapons ban at town h - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Clarksville committee to discuss future of weapons ban at town hall

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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Weapons have been banned from Clarksville's town hall for eight months -- but the move is not sitting well with everyone.

"If I want to go in and pay my water bill, why am I being restricted from carrying my firearm?" said resident James McClure.

McClure does not support a total weapons ban at Clarksville's town hall.

"Is the town gonna protect me from my car to the door? No. I'm responsible for my own protection," said McClure.

That's why he has agreed to be on a new committee that will look at the future of the weapons ban and if it should change.

"While I'm here, I will not permit weapons to be brought in," said Judge Jimmie Guilfoyle.

Guilfoyle signed the weapons ban in May partly because the town council and court are not separate from other parts of the building. He said that means anyone could randomly walk in with a gun and not be stopped.

"We've had inmates and defendants here who have pending murder charges, pending rape charges, prior rape charges and convictions," said Guilfoyle who called those people easy targets for anyone with a weapon.

Guilfoyle says between June and December of 2015 -- 14,572 people have visited town hall bringing in:

  • 265 knives
  • 69 box cutters
  • 20 cans of mace
  • 6 firearms
  • 2 needles
  • 2 stun guns
  • 1 hacksaw
  • 1 crack pipe

All of those items were previously not screened before the ban.

"Bad people look for soft targets," said Clarksville Town Hall Chief Bailiff Matthew Palmer.

Palmer spent six years in the army and 10 as a federal air marshal. He screens everyone on Tuesdays and Thursdays when court is in session.

"Inmates I knew were screened -- I knew the inmates didn't carry a handgun or bomb, so the biggest threat I could see was the unknown which is from the audience which might be carrying anything from a handgun to something larger and more destructive," said Palmer.

Guilfoyle says the only way he'd change the ban is if town would agree to partition off the court or move it to another building. A move McClure says he would also support.

"I wouldn't be on this committee if I didn't believe a compromise was possible," said McClure.

The newly formed committee will meet for the first time Wednesday night.

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