Proposal to allow handguns on Cooke County property fails

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COOKE COUNTY, TX -- Monday's shooting at a Delaware courthouse is just the latest of its kind across the nation.

A 2005 Courthouse shooting in Smith County,Texas led counties across the state to reevaluate courthouse security. But a shooting last month near the Kaufman County courthouse shows counties may still be vulnerable.

Now, Cooke County wants to let employees protect themselves.

"I see folks with CHL's being a deterrent to crime," said Commissioner Gary Hollowell.

Hollowell's proposal would allow all county employees and elected officials with concealed handgun licenses to carry their guns on county property.

But the resolution was defeated 3-2 in commissioners court Monday.

"The majority thought that we needed to do some research, consider some liabilities, do some additional homework," Hollowell said.

Sheriff Terry Gilbert said he's working on updating a master security plan, and commissioners say they want to study how Hollowell's proposal fits with the plan before they pass it.

But Gilbert is on board with the idea.

"You know, properly maintained - and with the rules that CHL's carry - I think they're all proven people who will follow the rules."

The proposal is also gaining regional attention. Representatives from Fannin County were in commissioners court Monday, just to take notes on the discussion.

"We'd like to open up a dialogue and talk more about courthouse security. There's still a lot of concern, so we just wanna see what other counties are doing," said Tammy Biggar, Fannin County clerk.

And Gilbert said Monday's shooting at a Delaware courthouse proves the need for a security plan.

"That just proves the urgency of what we're trying to do," he said. "We just need to get something in place as soon as possible."

Hollowell said after county officials research the issue further, he plans to resubmit the proposal - and he's confident the measure will pass.

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