Mount Airy, North Carolina is basically Mayberry. It’s where Andy Griffith is from and is widely believed to be the inspiration for the fictional town from the beloved TV show.
With a population of fewer than 11,000 people, it’s not quite that small, but it’s still a small town by most definitions. As such, it’s the kind of place most of us would figure would have some pretty pro-gun views.
And to hear city officials tell it, they do. They claim to respect the Second Amendment.
Unfortunately, their actions are telling people a very different story.
Mount Airy officials’ recent adoption of an updated personnel policy — which includes prohibiting municipal employees from carrying weapons on city government property — shouldn’t be viewed as curtailing Second Amendment rights in general, according to Mayor Jon Cawley.
“That’s not at all what we were doing,” Cawley said Saturday in reference to a 4-1 vote by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners during a Sept. 7 meeting to approve a modernized version of a policy last amended 20 years ago.
While the 56-page list of employee regulations addresses many topics, one of its provisions has taken center stage since that meeting revolving around Commissioner Deborah Cochran.
It says: “No person, either paid or volunteer, is permitted to possess any firearm or other dangerous weapon while performing city duties, including while on any city property, in any city-owned vehicle, or in any personal vehicle used by the employee to perform duties.”
Cawley said Saturday that since the Sept. 7 action, concerns have emerged that it somehow served to undermine the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
“What we were dealing with was an employee handbook,” the mayor said of something that has become standard procedure in localities in terms of banning workers from bringing guns to work — except for law enforcement officers.
I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me you respect the Second Amendment while blatantly disrespecting what the Second Amendment stands for.
Don’t get me wrong. I suspect that this would hold up in court because employers can often limit how people exercise their rights while on the clock. I’m not going to pretend otherwise here.
However, if one wants to respect the Second Amendment, one needs to understand what the Second Amendment actually represents.
Our Founding Fathers believed that every citizen had certain rights that were innately part of being a living, breathing person. Those rights were there and, absent due process of law, could not be taken away.
While employers often say “no guns allowed while at work” with great regularity, that doesn’t make it right.
Further, these rules and regulations create issues.
Take a similar policy in Virginia Beach, for example. A woman who worked at the municipal center suspected there would be a mass shooting one day. Someone was getting fired and she thought he was unstable. Her husband urged her to violate the city’s policy and take her gun to work.
However, she was right. There was a mass shooting that day, though she was wrong about who would carry it out. She was killed because of that policy.
And that’s just one thing that can happen that Mount Airy officials aren’t accounting for.
People who can’t have a gun on their person at work will generally leave it at home. After all, the risk of their firearm being stolen is likely too great otherwise.
As a result, these employees are vulnerable on their way to and from work, which may include stops at grocery stores or restaurants.
Mount Airy will likely do whatever it is they want and they’ll likely get away with it from a legal standpoint. What I won’t let them do is pretend they respect the Second Amendment when they don’t.