Custer County Commissioners rescinds courthouse firearm carry ordinance
The Custer County Commissioners have voted to rescind an ordinance that allows for the public and county workers to carry firearms in the Custer County Courthouse. The commissioners will revisit the ordinance in six months.
CUSTER, S.D. — On Wednesday morning, the Custer County Commissioners voted unanimously to rescind an ordinance that allowed county workers and the public to carry firearms in Custer County Courthouse.
The South Dakota Supreme Court approved an order by 7th circuit judge Craig Pfeifle, which states that judges won’t physically appear in the courtroom because of safety concerns.
Custer County cases have been held at the Pennington County Courthouse to examine witnesses and physical evidence.
But commissioners want to have trials back in their courthouse.
“We are here to physically look over the county and by doing this, we are not doing this,” said Custer County Commissioner Travis Bies. “Let’s get business back to usual and start researching what we can do.”
The commissioners met at the courthouse to discuss the potential impact to taxpayers and in the end, voted to rescind the ordinance to research and study the issue.
The cost for the county to pay for jurors to travel to Pennington County isn’t a small bill.
“On a jury selection day, you’re going to have your jurors driving to Pennington county, for a grand jury selection, that’s going to be approximately 40 people,” said Custer County State’s Attorney, Tracy Kelley. “On a felony case, you’re looking at approximately 100 jurors traveling to Pennington county. You’re going to spend probably $750 to $1,000 more than if we were seating the grand jury here in Custer County.”
Despite safety concerns from the justices, many Custer County residents expressed their feeling that the order is an attack on second amendment rights.
“I think this is more of a political attack rather than a real concern for safety because I can’t imagine why their risk to safety is heightened by having weapons in that small area between the front door of the courthouse and courtroom,” said Custer County resident, Patrick Baumann.
The commissioners are set to revisit the ordinance on July 23.