Reported By Joseph Pleasant, Reporter - bio | email
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
A Nashville woman was cited Wednesday morning for bringing a gun to the A.A. Birch Building.
Security at the courthouse alerted Metro police just after 8 a.m. after the weapon was discovered in Sara Mitchell's purse as she was going through a security screening.
Mitchell, 30, does not have a carry permit for the gun.
She was issued a misdemeanor citation for unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon.
The gun was seized by police.
Mitchell told investigators she purchased the gun for home defense and simply forgot she had the weapon with her.
A man who answered the door at Mitchell's home said he did not know about the gun incident or where she was when Nashville's News 2 went to get comment from her.
Authorities said the gun is the fourth discovered at the courthouse this year.
The A.A. Birch Building, located at 408 Second Avenue North off James Robertson Parkway, houses Nashville's criminal, traffic and general session courts.
The Davidson County Sheriff's Office runs security at the A.A. Birch Building.
Every year security screeners find thousands of prohibited items at the security checkpoint.
"It's extremely important because lives depend on it," Chief Deputy John Ford said. "What we stop from coming into the courthouse could be a weapon that could get someone hurt or killed."
So far in 2013, 16,859 prohibited items have been discovered during screening.
9,319 of the items were abandoned at the security check points and 7,540 items were allowed to be removed from the courthouse by the person attempting to bring it into the building.
In 2012, 29,886 prohibited items were discovered during screening. Of those, 13,414 items were allowed to be returned to the person's vehicle and 16,472 were abandoned at the security checkpoint.
Confiscated items that are abandoned are destroyed by the sheriff's office.
"Daily, even hourly, these items we confiscate are minor compared to a weapon," Ford said. "On a weapon we automatically call the police department because we don't want to impede any investigation or citing of someone who brought a weapon to the courthouse."
He continued, "Knives are in the thousands easily they are caught everyday and its people carrying pocket knives. I carry a pocket knife, but I know when I go to the court or to the jail I take it out."
Mitchell's citation did not require her to be booked into jail or post bond to be released.
Previously, she was ordered to forfeit all her guns as part of probation requirements.