On Monday, Oct. 18, Guilford County commissioners met via Zoom with the local delegation of state legislators to make requests of the state, and one very interesting request was for the legislators to change state law and allow security officers employed by Guilford County to carry guns in the courthouse.

When Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne made the request on behalf of Guilford County government to the state legislators, he said this would give Guilford County better control over how security responses in the courthouse are handled. 

In an email after the meeting, Payne went into a little more detail as to why this change would be a positive one.

“It is more [to] shift personnel away from private security to our staff whom we train and guide,” the county attorney wrote. “This is more about the small issues that we want to correct so they do not turn into larger ones.”

At the meeting, Payne said that, up until around 2019, county-employed security officers did carry guns in the county’s two courthouses.

“We were carrying weapons and someone filed a complaint,” Payne said, adding that Guilford County stopped the practice at that time due to existing state law.

The county officials at the Oct. 18 meeting stated that they would be fine with a local bill from the state that granted Guilford County this right by exception, and kept current state law the same elsewhere.

During the virtual meeting, the state legislators seemed very agreeable with the change, though some wanted to do more research on the matter and discuss it with court and law enforcement officials.

Guilford County government has made several major moves lately when it comes to county security.  In a still unexplained move – which came out of the blue like Monday’s courthouse gun permission request – in early September, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners came out of a long closed session and voted to approve 11 new Guilford County Security Department positions (and four new Sheriff’s Department positions as well).

Also, in recent months, county commissioner meetings have had much greater security than in the past.