Guns in court facilities result in charges

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SANDPOINT — Multiple signs adorn the entrances to Bonner County court facilities warning visitors that handguns and other weaponry are prohibited from being on the premises.

But the ample warnings have not stopped 11 people this year from bringing handguns into the Bonner County Administration Building or the temporary court clerks office.

“That’s the most I can recall at any time,” said Chief Bailiff Mark Johnson.

Although the guns were absentmindedly brought into the facilities in nearly all of the cases, court and county officials have directed security staff not to cut anybody a break and to issue misdemeanor citations.

Under Idaho Code, it’s illegal for anybody except law enforcement officers to bring a weapon into a courthouse, detention facility or school. It’s punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Johnson said offenders of the aforementioned law typically receive a fine and a suspended jail term.

On Wednesday, a woman with a handgun in her purse overlooked no fewer than five signs warning her of the weapons prohibition before entering the security checkpoint at the administration building. Complicating matters was the fact that she was carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

A permit for concealed carry would not have spared the woman from prosecution.

“It’s not valid here,” Johnson said of the permit.

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