July 16, 2013 10:57:59 AM
Lowndes County supervisors Monday unanimously approved a proposal that will ban firearms from county-owned buildings and property.
Pending legislation, which would allow the open carry of firearms, first prompted discussion on the ban at the board's July 1 meeting. An injunction is currently preventing that law from taking effect.
Supervisors also approved a proposed ordinance that would mandate 1 a.m. closing times for county nightclubs and set a public hearing date for August 15.
Language in the proposed ordinance would create a five-member nightclub regulations committee including the sheriff or a designee, the fire coordinator or a designee, a Lowndes County resident appointed by supervisors, the county prosecuting attorney and the county administrator or a designee.
The committee would have authority to suspend or revoke licenses if any nightclub is found guilty of two of the same or similar violations during a one-year span and determine action that should be taken against an establishment committing three violations. Those found in violation would be given the opportunity to have the committee hear their grievances and would be able to appeal a decision to the board of supervisors.
Violations would be considered misdemeanors and nightclub owners would be fined no less than $500 for each violation.
All customers would have to clear the premises by 1:30 a.m. Establishments would have to provide one security guard per 100 people. Exemptions can be applied for if the committee approves a dining seating plan furnished by the owner and the plan is posted in the establishment. The clubs can be exempt from security guard requirements during hours when operating primarily as restaurants.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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