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Not allowed to ban guns, library sets down limits

A new state law that strips local government of its ability to ban guns at public places has had Allen County Public Library officials scratching their heads.

On Thursday, the library’s board of directors agreed to modify the libraries’ code of conduct concerning firearms in hopes of thwarting any potential problems.

The law pre-empts local firearm regulations, and city and county governments can no longer regulate in any matter involving carrying, possessing or transporting firearms or ammunition. That includes such places as libraries, museums or parks.

The library’s old policy allowed security employees to ask a person suspected of carrying any kind of weapon to leave the building or to prohibit that person from entering.

Effective immediately, patrons may bring a handgun onto library property or into a library, but only if they provide a valid permit. Any person carrying firearms must provide proof of license upon request to library personnel.

“This new policy sends a message that while guns can no longer be banned from the library, certain standards of behavior will not be tolerated,” said Jeffrey Krull, director of the Allen County Public Library.

The firearms must be secured to prevent potential injury or serious bodily harm to others, and no one will be allowed to point, brandish or display a firearm in any manner intended to threaten, according to the revised policy.

A separate policy states that staff members may not carry firearms in the library or on library property unless authorized to do so. And any firearms brought onto library property by staff members must be stored in a locked vehicle out of public view, according to the policy.