People who work for county governments sometimes go into some sketchy places. It can be bad enough that I’ve had more than one tell me they wish they could carry a gun for their protection. I mean, it’s not like government workers ever get murdered while working, right? Well, there was that one time. Oh, yeah, then there was that other time.
Okay, so maybe it happens.
The truth of the matter is, county workers have the same God-given right to self-defense the rest of us have. Simply being on the clock shouldn’t change that.
Down in Florida, at least one county seems to get that.
Commissioners in Brevard County voted unanimously Tuesday to allow employees with concealed carry permits to carry guns on the job.
The commission voted 5-0 during their regular Board of County Commissioners meeting.
The new policy takes effect immediately. Any of the county’s more than 2,000 concealed-weapons-permitted employees can now carry a firearm on the job.
“These are law-abiding citizens,” Commissioner John Tobia said. “For one reason or another, this previous county commission had said they don’t deserve the right to have their gun at work. I disagreed with that, and thankfully, this board changed that policy,” Tobia said.
Tobia had previously made the proposal to allow Brevard employees to have guns on the job. It required commissioners to amend a previous policy banning those who did not serve in law enforcement or in security positions.
“To disenfranchise them for a right we provide our public is, I think, patently wrong,” Tobia said.
The policy does not apply to what’s called the county’s five elected “constitutional officers,” including the sheriff, and also doesn’t affect Brevard School District employees.
While it’s a shame school employees are excluded, that has more to do with state law than anything else. If the state doesn’t permit school employees to carry, then the county is out of luck. Nothing they can do.
But in the meantime, a large chunk of the county’s employees are going to be a bit safer going forward. Even if they don’t carry themselves, criminals looking for an easy mark now have to deal with the possibility of the county utility worker being armed, thus making them a less tempting target.
The criminal calculus in Brevard County just shifted.
The truth is, however, that Commissioner Tobia is right. It’s patently wrong to bar employees from carrying a firearm without a damn good reason.
Those working inside the jail don’t carry, but not because they’re not trusted. They don’t carry because they’re surrounded by people who can’t be trusted. As such, it’s smart not to have guns inside jails.
But there’s no reason filling in potholes or dealing with the sewer should be subjected to the same restrictions. None at all. Especially since those duties might take him or her to the worst parts of town. Now, they can deal with threats effectively should they occur. More importantly, though, they now know the county values them as human beings.
It’s a nice thing to feel.