Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy asked State Rep. Chris Hurst (D-Enumclaw) Monday to study a state law requiring county officials to take knives and other dangerous weapons into safekeeping while their owners visit courthouses.
In the meantime, a safety committee is reviewing plans to increase security at the county’s three courthouses in compliance with state law, McCarthy said.
County officials announced earlier this month they would no longer hold Mace, knives, clubs, flammable liquids, toy guns or replicas, handcuffs or handcuff keys and a long list of other objects for visitors.
There is an exception, under state law, for guns, which can be checked at the door. But that exception also applies to other kinds of weapons.
It’s long been a practice to receipt guns, knives and similar items that are banned from the courthouse and allow their owners to retrieve them on the way out.
The county’s new security procedures were designed to increase courthouse safety and make the visitor screening process less costly and more efficient, McCarthy said.
People entering the busy County-City Building in Downtown Tacoma and other courthouses are subject to airport-style scrutiny, which includes walking through a metal detector and putting your bags on an X-ray machine conveyor belt.
You can read about courthouse screening procedures here.