In their Tuesday evening meeting, New Mexico’s Eddy County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution which will allow county employees with valid concealed carry permits to carry while on duty.
Employees looking to exercise their right to carry will need to notify both the county manager and their supervisor and also be required to take additional training classes, which will be provided by the county.
The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports:
Charlie Powell, the county’s safety officer, said many employees have previously shown interest in having the concealed carry resolution for safety reasons.
“There have been a number of employees who felt that, due to the change in times and culture and Carlsbad, that it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive,” she said.
Powell said the county has been working on the resolution and its specifics for months.
Rick Rudometkin, county manager, told commissioners that many other places, including Otero County and Colorado Springs, have already adopted similar resolutions. He said he thought the document thoroughly covered potential problems, that any employee who chooses to exercise the right should give it strong consideration.
“This is serious business for the people who actually decide to do this,” Rudometkin said. “This isn’t party time, this isn’t ‘oh look at me fun fun fun.’ This is serious business.”
However, he said the resolution was not meant to either encourage or discourage employees from carrying weapons.
“We don’t have an opinion one way or the other,” Rudometkin said. “What we are doing is we are recognizing the right of a particular individual to exercise their right to bear arms with a valid concealed weapons permit.”
He said the county still wants employees to follow law enforcement’s standard rule of “run, hide or fight,” which only encourages fighting as a last resort in a dangerous situation.
Rudometkin also encouraged those who want to carry concealed weapons to have their own insurance rather than rely on the county.
“Bottom line is, if the incident is what it is and NMAC (New Mexico Administrative Code) says that we can’t cover that under county insurance, the employee is fully responsible. They’re fully responsible anyway. If you exercise your right, you better have your own insurance,” Rudometkin said.
The policy does not allow county employees to carry their weapons inside places where concealed weapons are prohibited. Such venues include the detention center, law enforcement centers and courthouses.
Chief Deputy Mark Cage said having concealed weapons in these locations is unnecessary because they have law enforcement officials present to provide safety.
“We’re (law enforcement officials) there,” Cage said. “We can protect you. At this rate we don’t need other individuals carrying them that we can’t control because that’s a controlled environment. ”
Commissioner Stella Davis said she previously had reservations about the resolution. But she said after discussing it with others, she understood how it could benefit employees who have to enter dangerous situations.
“I think this is going to be really beneficial to our code enforcement person, who doesn’t carry a gun,” Davis said. “But he’s out there, I mean, he doesn’t have an open carry gun, but with a concealed weapon it’s going to make him a little safer I think.”
Quite frankly, after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA, I’m surprised more state and government offices haven’t moved to allow employees to carry on duty. Hope to see many more offices and agencies wake up!