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WARTBURG (WATE) - Authorities are praising new metal detectors that prevented a man from walking into the Morgan County courthouse with a weapon in his back-pocket.
According to the Morgan County Sheriff's Department, Johnny Swint, 70, walked into the county courthouse around 10:45 a.m. Thursday. Swint told security officers after he walked through a metal detector, he had forgotten a gun was in his back-pocket.
Swint was charged with possessing a loaded handgun. He also did not have a handgun carrying permit.
Authorities don't believe Swint intended to harm anyone when he brought the gun into the courthouse, but they say these security measures are in place to prevent dangerous incidents.
"What happened today is a reason that we and the sheriff and the security board determined that this is in the best interest of the citizens do this, said" Steve Cochran of the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.
The incident happens just weeks after the sheriff and law enforcement officials signed an agreement to close three of the courthouse's entrances, none of which had metal detectors.
Now everyone entering the building must go through the rear entrance, which is screened by a guard at all times.
Cochran says the agreement has seemed especially relevant as of late.
"Right when we really started talking about it is when the bombings in Boston took place," Cochran said.
Morgan County executive Don Edwards proposed scaling back security to only when court is in session.
Edwards also suggested moving the screening scanner to the second floor.
Commissioners rejected the proposal at Monday's commission meeting.
"This is not some horrific event that has happened," Edwards said. "I feel like there is no reason to restrict the free movement Morgan County citizens in and out of the administrative offices of our court house, this is their courthouse."
Johnny Swint was released late Thursday afternoon after posting a $2,000 bond.
Swint could face additional charges. He will make an initial court appearance on June 6.