A convention attendee handles a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol at a trade show on Jan. 15, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nev.
Photo by Julie Jacobson/AP

In Washington county, elections office remains gun-friendly

Nothing ensures accurate vote counting like a man with a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol.

Despite making some people uncomfortable at the Clark County, Washington, auditor’s office during last month’s primary, Gerald “Rick” Halle – and anyone else who wants to – will still be permitted to carry firearms into the county’s elections office.

RELATED: Panera Bread asks customers to leave guns at home

According to The Columbian, there were no altercations with Halle, tasked by the county Republican party with overseeing the vote tallying process. No one even said a word to him about the weapon, fastened securely to his hip as it is every day. But afterwards, some elections workers said it wasn’t the right place for a gun.

Having a partisan person “standing behind you, holding a gun,” could easily be disruptive or intimidating, Lee Jensen, another election observer, told The Columbian. Nevertheless, the law trumps queasiness.

After speaking with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey found out that the elections office is not covered by state and federal bans on carrying weapons into certain county buildings – including the courthouse, juvenile justice facilities, and the community health campus. In the future, observers who show up with guns will be asked to put them away, said Kimsey, but either way, “they will still be welcome to carry out their responsibility.”

PHOTO ESSAY: Portraits of Americans and their guns

Throughout the past year, members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have influenced various corporations – including Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Target – to ban armed individuals from entering stores. The companies typically respond promptly to the petitions by asking clients to refrain from possessing firearms while dining or shopping at the various locations across the country.

Additional reporting by Michele Richinick

Gun Policy

In Washington county, elections office remains gun-friendly