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Woman charged with trying to tote gun into Westmoreland courthouse

| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

An Allegheny County woman was charged this week with trying to bring a gun in to the Westmoreland County Courthouse.

The county's park police charged Kristen Ashley Owens, 23, of McKees Rocks with a misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm on county property.

According to the arrest report, Owens had a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver loaded with five rounds in her purse when she entered the courthouse on June 11.

Owens told police she was accompanying a friend to a court hearing and forgot the weapon was in her purse. Officer Jason Monyok said he found the gun as Owens' purse went through the X-ray machine at the front door security station.

“She was licensed to carry the gun, but she just didn't tell us she had it,” Monyok said.

A county ordinance prohibits visitors and staff from bringing guns into the courthouse. Anyone with a gun is required to turn it over to the park police at the security station at the entrance. The gun is stored in a nearby locker and is retrieved when the owner leaves the courthouse, according to Park Police Lt. Kathy Logan.

Police officers are permitted to carry their sidearms in the courthouse, but they too must check their weapons with the park police before they enter a courtroom, Logan said.

The park police have filed charges in two cases this year against people who brought guns into the courthouse. No such charges were filed in 2012, Logan said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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