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County’s concealed carry changes are in limbo

While county planning board members in March approved amending ordinances to allow the concealed carry of handguns in county buildings, the issue remains in limbo as officials consider the ramifications of also allowing county employees to carry.
“(The issue) will probably be in front of the board some time in July,” said Ed Muire, the county’s planning director. “In anticipation of the concealed carry being permitted for public employees as well, we wanted to look at what our personnel policy was and make sure we are not prohibiting our employees from carrying if the general public can.”
A group of county department directors now is reviewing personnel policy to consider the necessary amendments if commissioners approve the changes, Muire said.
Many questions and scenarios are being considered, and Muire said the county is evaluating “the worst case scenarios.”
“With DSS, is there going to be an issue for an employee who does a home visit that is carrying? Is there an issue for the maintenance guy who is driving with (a gun) on his hip,” Muire said.
Other counties that allow employees to carry that Muire said he looked at have not yet adopted any formal policy or addressed the issue.
Another concern, Muire said, is whether allowing county employees to carry concealed handguns affect insurance policies and liability.
“We have to look at whether we have violence training, and what signs is a person looking for when somebody is agitated,” Muire said. “When you get ready to fire somebody, what if they come in and you know they are carrying? Do you ask if they have their gun and tell them to go put it in their desk?”
The planning board members want to be able to advise commissioners and let them know if there is an impact on the county’s liability coverage, Muire said.
As a member of the planning board, Larry Wright said the county is working out the details with the employee managers.
“The one thing I heard mentioned, is if the employee is going to be terminated, they couldn’t carry on the last day,” Wright said. “It’s going to come back to the planning board. They are going to see what the department heads want to do internally.”
When a new majority of commissioners take the helm after the November election, Wright said the proposed concealed carry changes to the ordinances “may be undone.”
“It depends on who gets in,” Wright said. “County employees have to be able to carry weapons, and they will have some rules. They can’t allow me to carry in here and not allow the guy who works here not to. I think it is inconceivable to deny employees the right to carry. There will be some guidelines and restrictions.”

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