Friday, January 31, 2014

Trend: Restoring Public Employee's ability to defend themselves

A trend is growing across the nation to restore the ability of public employees to protect themselves.  During the last hundred years, the legal ability of public employees to carry defensive weapons has been eroded along with the rights of ordinary citizens.   Originally intended to prevent minorities and immigrants from being armed, the philosophy of a disarmed population was put in place in employee codes at all levels of government, local, state, and federal.

Much of this was resisted by people with a long cultural affinity for arms, and, as with the general prohibition on concealed weapons, was selectively enforced against out of favor minorities.  I recall my father taking a pistol along while working as a state employee in charge of a surveying crew in the 1960s.   Even in the early 1970's, I organized informal pistol matches while working for a federally sponsored forest improvement project in Wisconsin that employed students during summer break.  No one blinked or considered that it might be improper.  This was three years after the passage of the infamous Gun Control Act of 1968.

As the decades rolled by, more and more employee codes were written with rules forbidding employees to possess firearms at work.   Many of these were pushed as "model" codes that erroneously claimed to limit the liability of employers, based on non-existent evidence that restricting employee rights to be armed reduced workplace violence.   People who pushed such policies never considered the possibility of people protecting themselves or that agencies that restricted employees from protecting themselves could be liable for those employees' protection.

With the success of the shall issue concealed carry permit laws across the nation, that trend has been discredited and reversed.   Several states have passed laws to insure that employee second amendment rights will be respected during travel to and from the job, by insuring that employees can have legally owned firearms in their vehicles on company parking lots.   Many private companies now allow or even encourage their employees to be armed.  Some of the last bastions to prohibit their employees from exercising their second amendment rights on the job have been federal, state, and local governments.

The trend is for local governments to embrace those reforms.  A recent article from Saline county, Kansas:
 Employees of Saline County who wish to carry a concealed firearm for personal protection must have a concealed-carry permit, as required by law. Employees who wish to carry must keep the concealed firearm on their person at all times. Employees also are prohibited from storing or leaving a firearm in bags, coats, purses and briefcases while not on their person.
Nor is Saline County the only county in the state to do so.   In Harvey County, Kansas, from The Kansan:
Commissioners approved a change to county policy 6.16 in the employee manual — the policy on workplace violence/weapons/concealed carry.
Under the policy, non-law enforcement or security personnel will be able to carry a gun with them if they have a conceal and carry permit from the state. A copy of their permit must be on file with human resources, part of the employee's sealed personnel file.
 From North Carolina,
MURPHY — Cherokee County leaders are taking North Carolina’s expansion of gun rights a step further by allowing legal concealed weapons in most county offices.Anyone, including county employees, may carry a concealed handgun with the proper permit.
Cherokee county is not the only county in North Carolina to do so.
Alamance County, between Greensboro and Durham, also repealed its 1995 ban on concealed weapons in most county buildings in December, County Manager Craig Honeycutt said.
 From Michigan, we have Jackson County in 2012, from
"Our constitution tells us we should have this right and we should exercise our rights. It's our privilege as an American," said Phil Duckham, Jackson Co. Commisioner.

Duckham says right now, county employees can't have a weapon, but licensed carriers can bring a weapon in. He says if a county employee is threatened, they should have the means to protect themselves to the extent the law allows.
In Texas, a city has made the same move, from The Aransas Pass Progress quoting Police Chief Blanchard:
"People need to understand the average response time for police is 5 minutes.  That means people have to fend for themselves until police arrive on the scene.  It takes 3 minutes for an active shooter to create massive destruction.  I believe any good, honest, God fearing, America citizen should be armed."

Some people argue that a city worker may take another path and suddenly start shooting inapropriately.  Blanchard stated, "Any person can go crazy at any time.  If a city worker went crazy and started shooting, I would hope another armed city worker standing nearby would subdue that threat."
 A law in Kentucky restores firefighters ability to have defensive firearms on duty.   From, hardly a second amendment friendly source:
Additionally, because special districts are not covered under the separate law that allows cities to ban concealed weapons, they also must allow those with permits to bring guns into their buildings.

That includes firefighters on duty — something that has been met with mixed reaction among fire chiefs.
Bucking the trend is McHenry County, Illinois.  Illinois was the last state to pass a concealed carry permit system, something it  did after being required to do so by a federal court order.
In the wake of concealed carry taking effect in the coming months, the McHenry County Board is setting down rules forbidding employees who are not law enforcement from carrying handguns during their official duties....
At least one state lawmaker in Kentucky is looking to the future. State Representative John Becker (R-Union Township) has introduced a bill to restore the right to carry to most public employees in Kentucky.  From
State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township) introduced House Bill 236 that will allow all non-federal, public sector employees with a concealed carry license to carry into all non-federal and non-secured public buildings.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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