The Iowa City Public Library’s governing board unanimously approved on Thursday a measure to ban guns in the library.
That move comes about a month after state law changed to loosened restrictions on citizens who carry weapons.
“There are some people who would feel uncomfortable if they saw people carrying guns inside the library,” Director Susan Craig said. “Library staff feels a safe and secure environment is very important.”
Craig said the policy, which exempts public safety officials, will go into effect as soon as signs can be made, which she estimates will take a week to 10 days.
Library staff said there have been very few gun threats in the library in recent history. Workers recalled an incident with a water gun and another incident where a man said he had a gun, but turned out to be lying.
The Iowa City City Council and the Johnson County Board of Supervisors are expected to consider similar restrictions for other city and county property later this year but library officials don’t expect those actions would change the new library policy. A handful of other localities in Eastern Iowa in the area also are considering moves to ban firearms in public venues.Nobody came to speak in opposition to the policy at Thursday’s library board meeting in Iowa City, but legislation introduced last week at the statehouse could prevent local governing bodies from preempting state law. If passed, that legislation would likely squelch bans like the Iowa City Public Library’s.