After seven years of lobbying for city legislation that would allow city employees to carry concealed, permitted handguns while on the job, a Mt. Juliet commissioner was successful when commissioners voted unanimously for the change.
District 3 Commissioner Art Giles presented an ordinance that changed the Employee Handbook policy covering handguns. The new policy also covers city and planning commissioners who are paid city employees, he said.
Already, city employees are allowed to have a gun in the trunk of their vehicle.
Vice Mayor James Maness emphasized that a firearm in the workplace must be in the owners’ possession and secure at all times.
Additionally, Maness said the employee handbook change “does in no way impact the city’s insurance coverage.”
Giles first began talking about the policy change in 2013 and most recently brought it up last July after shootings in municipal buildings in Virginia Beach, Va., the previous May in which 12 people were killed.
Giles said if employees there had been armed, they could have protected themselves against the gunman who was a fellow employee.
“It’s about their (employees’) right to fulfill their God-given right to protect themselves,” Giles said. “To give them a sense of safety.”
State law mandates employees can’t carry guns into state buildings that don’t allow weapons.
Commissioner Ray Justice asked about specific scenarios where a citizen or other employees said they were intimidated by seeing a weapon in a work situation, perhaps for public works employees.
“Another city employee sees a weapon and files a complaint,” Justice said. “This could turn into a negative situation.”
City Attorney Gino Marchetti said that the complaining party would have to prove “it was intentional, intended to harass or scare.”
Giles said if someone has a concealed weapon and it is accidently seen, that is not intimidation.