Columbia's public library reviews policy after state lawmaker brings gun into building

Columbia's public library reviews...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia's public library is reviewing its policy after a state lawmaker said she did nothing wrong bringing a concealed gun into the building.

Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, a Republican, attended a League of Women Voters Forum at the Daniel Boone Regional Library earlier this month. A group called "Let's Swarm a Town Hall" came to the library to protest Republican officeholders.

Reisch stepped out of the library to call police when protesters made her fear for her safety, according to Reisch's attorney Jennifer Bukowsky.

Reisch told officers she had a CCW along with a concealed gun in her purse. The conversation was overheard and reported to library staff.

"We see instances like Gabrielle Giffors where there is violence committed against politicians, and we also see a pattern of conduct across the country where protests have been getting out of hand," Bukowsky said. "And it is not unreasonable for a woman to be fearful of her personal safety and want to exercise her constitutional right to protect herself."

A sign posted at the entrance of the library says, "carrying or possession of firearms or weapons prohibited." Fine print goes on to say that weapons are not allowed, even with a concealed carry permit.

But Bukowsky said the sign does not comply with state law on public property.

"Private landowners have the right to prohibit concealed carry permit holders from carrying weapons onto their private property," Bukowsky said. "But the government doesn't have that same authorization under the statute."

Thursday, the library's board of trustees discussed the incident in a meeting.

The library's director Melissa Carr said staff took no action, since the weapon was not brandished.

Carr said the library's attorney has recommenced changing the wording on the sign to read, "... weapons prohibited, unless authorized by law."

The change would make the sign consistent with the library's rules for behavior and conduct posted online.

The attorney is currently reviewing the library's policy and will bring back final recommendations to the board, according to Carr. 

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