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County looks to limit new gun regulations

BY ALLIE WRIGHT | JANUARY 20, 2011 7:10 AM

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Some Johnson County and Iowa City officials said they’re upset over recently enacted law that eases the requirements for obtaining a gun permit.

At a Johnson County Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, officials announced Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness will be writing a proposal that would prohibit guns in county buildings, parking lots and public grounds, Supervisor Terrence Neuzil said.

Exceptions for the proposal would include law-enforcement officials, active duty servicemen and -women, people transferring prisoners, and those who receive permission from the Conservation Board for such situations as hunting.

The supervisors will discuss and vote on the proposal Feb. 14.

“I think that elected officials are more alert to the fact that there is the potential that someone could be carrying a weapon openly or unconcealed,” Neuzil said, adding “I’m certainly concerned about that, not only for safety of employees, but also for the potential impact on the public wanting to come and participate in the government.”

The new law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, eases restrictions on issuing gun permits and allows people to carry them out in the open. Since then, 20 people have received gun permits who would have previously required more information or have been denied, said Johnson County Chief Deputy Steve Dolezal.

Additionally, the Iowa City Public Library Conduct Policy Board will meet Jan. 27 to decide whether or not guns will be allowed at the library, 123 S. Linn St.

“We want everyone to feel safe and comfortable in the library,” said Susan Craig, the director of the Iowa City Public Library.

Craig added she thinks the Board will decide to post signs stating guns should not be brought into the library.

Despite local concerns, the new law,, will not affect the University of Iowa’s policy, which prohibits anyone from carrying firearms onto campus, said Charles Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police. Green said this policy has not changed and will remain the same at all the regents’ school in the state.

Several business owners also said they do not agree with the new gun law.

“It’s so absurd that it’s almost surreal,” said Mark Ginsberg, owner of M.C. Ginsberg, 110 E. Washington St.

Ginsberg said an exposed gun would be intimidating in his business and said if people brought guns in, he would ask them to the weapons to him until they are done shopping.

But Ginsberg said he does not know if he will post a sign in front of his store, because it might not be beneficial.

“I don’t know if it’ll make a difference,” he said. “It seems counterintuitive.”

DI reporter Gibson Berglund contributed to this report.


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