Employers shouldn’t have much say over what you do at home, but when you’re a work, the rules are a little different. It’s their property and they’re the ones signing the paycheck, so they can have a lot to say about what you do while you’re on the clock. Few dispute that to any significant degree, though most will agree that only goes up to a certain point. Yet this has led to some tension when it comes to gun ownership. Can workers keep guns in their cars, for example?
But what about city employees? Do cities have the same leeway when it comes to the Second Amendment?
In most places, they sure seem to. However, one place that isn’t going to happen is Kentucky.
An attorney general’s opinion says local governments in Kentucky cannot prevent their employees from carrying weapons “at all times and places” while on duty.
The review was requested by the Ashland city attorney in northeastern Kentucky.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office released its opinion Monday. His office tied together various sections of Kentucky law governing the authority of local governments to regulate firearms.
The review came after several Ashland city employees petitioned to be allowed to carry firearms while at work.
So this is a huge win.
It’s not as big as it could have been, though.
See, the problem here is that this is an attorney general’s opinion. It’s not a court ruling. There’s no legal weight behind that opinion. Sure, it means the state likely wouldn’t prosecute anyone for carrying while at work, but they probably wouldn’t anyway. That would more likely be held at the local level anyway.
Yet what the opinion does is provide some legal framework from which cities can at least assess what they should or shouldn’t do.
Again, though, if you’re a city employee somewhere in Kentucky, I wouldn’t start carrying without a care in the world that your job is secure if it’s learned you happen to be armed. The opinion doesn’t go that far.
Not yet, anyway.
What will be interesting is to see whether this becomes some kind of lawsuit, using the attorney general’s opinion as the basis for a challenge to local rules that forbid employees from being armed.
Considering some of the places some city employees have to go, I can understand why some would want to be armed, too. I’ve been in some sketchy neighborhoods doing work not too dissimilar from what city employees have to do and I wish I’d been armed at the time (it was before I had any guns).
This opinion may set the stage for some interesting things in the state of Kentucky in the very near future. More than that, though, it may spill over to other states and empower local government employees to be able to embrace their Second Amendment rights while on the clock. Hell, just think of how different the Virginia Beach municipal building shooting might have been if workers there had their guns on them when things went down?
We know at least one wanted to.