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Editorial: Tulsa City Hall's proposed safety measures necessary in nation leading in gun violence

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Extra security measures are planned for Tulsa City Hall.

In an inevitable move, city of Tulsa officials are considering implementing a metal detector service for anyone walking through the doors of City Hall.

That is our sad reality, and it’s a move we support.

The device would be similar to what people go through at the Tulsa County Courthouse and federal buildings. It’s been used for City Council meetings and some other events in the building, but this would make it standard upon entering at any time, according to a story from reporter Kevin Canfield.

The U.S., and Oklahoma in particular, has been resistant to gun safety measures, putting the responsibility on potential victims. The nation is a leader in mass shootings, with no public space off limits to tragedy.

Public government meetings often stir emotion about any number of issues. It’s not unthinkable that a person riled by the moment would pull a gun and make an impulsive, catastrophic decision. Or, in worse scenarios, use public meetings as a target.

Metal detectors at public government buildings are reasonable safety measures that likely will be implemented in other government buildings. It may be a time inconvenience, but that is outweighed by security needs.

In addition, city officials are looking at designating a public protest area along Cincinnati Avenue between First and Second streets. The idea is to better provide safety for demonstrators and to keep accessible the entrance to City Hall, at Second Street and Cincinnati Avenue.

The building houses municipal services, four private companies and a business incubator. These measures are intended to protect all those doing business in the building.

We understand the necessity of having secured and controlled areas for demonstrators. We also back the right to assembly and free speech. A balance is going to be crucial.

We wouldn’t want someone arrested for holding a sign while standing outside those boundaries and not in the way of others or City Hall doors. But we back the idea of keeping the City Hall entrance clear for those who need to get inside.

Our communities are at the point of debating the loss of freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment to the freedoms of the Second Amendment. Still, city councilors need to consider unintended consequences of this part of the safety measure that will be presented later with a funding plan.

Metal detectors and designated protest areas won’t eliminate all threats. It might help, but it’s not going to get at the root of the nation’s gun violence. That is going to take much more state and federal action to enact change.

For now, city officials are doing what they can to keep gun violence out of their buildings.

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