Sunday, April 10, 2016

GA: Government Employees Right to Bear Arms Restored

Image courtesy by Rob Moore

On April 5th, the City Council of Demorest, Georgia voted to restore the right to bear arms to city employees.  From
DEMOREST — Demorest officials say they have passed a groundbreaking personnel policy amendment believed to be the first of its kind in Georgia.

Tuesday night, the city council voted unanimously to amend the city's personnel policy to allow city employees with a valid concealed carry permit to carry their weapons during the workday.
The policy may be the first for a city in Georgia, but it is a growing trend in the United States.  On January 26th, Bedford County in Virginia enacted a very similar policy.  From
BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS 10) – Bedford County employees can now bring guns to work if they have a concealed carry permit.

The board of supervisors voted unanimously to take the restriction out of the employee handbook.
 As the right to keep and bear arms is being restored across the United States, more governments below the federal level are restoring those rights to employees.  Some government officials see it as an issue of Second Amendment rights.  Some see it as a way of increasing safety in the workplace.  Others see it as a simple issue of fairness.  From WSLS:
“It really brings the employees of the county to the public,” said Skelley. “The public has no prohibition and it would be illegal for the county to prohibit exercising their second amendment rights on county property.
The issue of government employees having the right to bear arms arose in the "progressive" era.  It did not gain much traction until the middle 1960s.  I recall that my Father, who worked for the State of Wisconsin, had no issue with bring a pistol to work as a surveyor.  Most government employers have the restriction in employee handbooks.  It was often sold as a means of reducing "liability".  Interestingly, Wisconsin and Kansas have specifically eliminated the liability of employers if they lift the restrictions on employees exercising their Second Amendment rights.  Texas and Kansas have lifted the restrictions on people carrying concealed guns in their statehouses.

Virginia and Georgia are not the only states where local employees are regaining their rights.  We have also seen it in Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan, and Texas.

People with concealed carry permits have grown to nearly 10 percent of the population in some states.  The number of states that have restored the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit has increased to 10.

I expect this trend to continue.  People with carry permits have shown themselves to be more law abiding than police officers.  The Bedford County attorney had this to say about the change in policy there:
In addition, the county attorney took a look at possible issues before the meeting Monday night. The county’s insurance premiums will not be affected and liability issues could happen with or without a restriction.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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