Milton-Freewater employees get OK to carry guns at work

The City Council approved what the city manager calls a ‘landmark decision.’

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MILTON-FREEWATER — City employees can now pack a gun on the job under an amendment the City Council passed Monday.

“I will be talking to employees about how important this is,” City Manager Linda Hall said this morning. “I want to be sure they realize this is a landmark decision ... Council has gone out on a limb. I want to make sure employees appreciate that.”

Council members Brad Humbert, Jeff Anliker, Sam Hopkins-Hubbard and Orrin Lyon voted for the change to the employee handbook, while Ed Chesnut voted no. Councilman Steve Irving was absent.

The matter came up a couple of months ago with a request from Public Works employee Shave Wright, who asked his supervisor about carrying a concealed weapon at work.

Wright said today it was only a wish to be prepared for emergencies on the job, as well as off, Wright said today.

“It’s like a seat belt,” he said. “You put it on every day and hope it saves your life the day you have a wreck. And when that happens, you are so glad the seat belt was there.”

But Wright, lead employee for the city’s street and water departments, added he doesn’t feel he’s been in harm’s way while at work.

“I don’t want people thinking we’re the wild, wild West around here, (a firearm) is just a tool for something you hope never happens.”

Hall sought legal opinions, talking to attorneys and law enforcement officials, she told the council and a handful of residents in attendance. The city’s insurance carrier offered no formal opinion but indicated it was starting to hear from other cities on the issue, she said.

“I’ve had questions asked me from people on the street, that employees will be packing shotguns and pistols on their hips,” Hall said. “It’s nothing that dramatic. We’re talking in order to qualify, they would need concealed weapon permits.”

Such holders have already passed background checks and sheriffs’ reviews, noted Hopkins-Hubbard, who owns Sam’s Corner Market convenience store and deli.

No weapons would be allowed in a courtroom, and requests from home and business owners who don’t want weapons on their property would be adhered to, Hall said.

Hopkins-Hubbard, who approved the change, said that Milton-Freewater Fire Chief Shane Garner has told him of incidents when being armed would be appropriate. Meth houses, for example, can and do burn down and firefighters usually arrive before police and deal with residents of the house.

“It’s an uncomfortable feeling,” Hopkins-Hubbard said.

As a resident, Hopkins-Hubbard said he’s also provided help for police on calls.

“You don’t know when or why,” he said. “We have a small department and things happen. I would encourage this.”

Anliker agreed: “A lot of things are happening these days. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I believe this is a wise decision.”

Chesnut said the issue as less clear cut. While training for firearms can be suggested and encouraged, there is no way to force it, and he knows some residents are nervous about the idea of city employees carrying guns, he said.

Seaquist Century 21 Realty owner Paul Seaquist submitted an email to Hall to oppose the amendment.

“There should be no reason for this to occur. Employees should feel safe on the job” without having to carry a gun, he wrote.

“We don’t want to be sick, either, but we buy medical insurance,” Hopkins-Hubbard said in response after Hall read the email at the meeting.

He added that the city and employees should brace for a public controversy over the matter.

“It will be in the newspapers a week or two and then it’s going to go away,” he said.

Comments

harris 10 months, 1 week ago

It looks to me like the Milton-Freewater City Council has shown that they as a group have common sence. Legally carring a conceled weapon is a personal choice and they have given their employees permission to make that personal choice with this decision. Way to go M-F City Council.

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chicoli 10 months, 1 week ago

What a treat for those guys! To what purpose this measure ia suposed to accomplish is a mystery to me...other than embolden the ego of some individuals who think and act like children. This will result to be an intimidation on MFW citizen who must visit City public services where there is a bunch of guys packing guns. I envision these guys packing their guns before and after work at stores, restaurants, and other public places. MFW will get the fame of an OK Corral type of town. Why don't they change the name to MFW (Multiple Fire Weapons) city?

A lot of Walla Walla people go to MFW to shop tax free. A lot of us will decide is not worth it as the idea of being close to a bunch of arm poeple is not really a pleasant one.

In the long run this Cowboy mentality will be detrimental to the MFW businesses...and yes, this is a prediction!

My other question is ...what was Linda Hall thinking?

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PearlY 10 months, 1 week ago

Paco - I'm shocked! Shocked to hear that a good liberal like you, who thinks the funds available to government are way too low to do everything it should do, unlawfully evades the sales tax by shopping in M-F and not declaring your purchases to the State Department of Revenue and paying your use tax. Shame on you!

By the way, Paco, lots of concealed carry permit holders already pack their guns in stores, restaurants, etc. You just don't know it because the guns are concealed, like they're supposed to be. Chances are you've sat near me at one of our local eateries or at a performance at the Power House. Was I carrying my gun that day or not? You'd never know. If the idea of being close to a bunch of "arm poeple" is unpleasant, you'll have to just stay home.

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chicoli 10 months, 1 week ago

Dear Pearl. I'm surprised you did not comment about the issue at hand which is city employees packing guns at work. You wasted an opportunity by throwing blind cheap shots in shotgun style to see what sticks. Well, to be honest I must review my taxes and declare taxes not paid for 2 mojitos, huevos rancheros, a flan de vainilla and camarones ahogados to go, at La Ramada. Mea culpa...Oh, God...I'm going to burn in hell for ever!

Anyway, I appreciate your indefatigable feistiness and readiness to debate that many postings for many of us. You remind me of Annie Oakley when she said "For me sitting still is harder than any kind of work" Well, you remind me of Annie Oakley in more than one way...

Some time ago Chad Olson was sitting 2 seats down from Mr. Reeves at a movie theater in Florida. Mr. Reeves, a conceal weapon carrying man murdered Mr Olson for trivial motives. Think about Mr Zimmerman a vigilante who killed an innocent boy in Florida. Think about Mr Michael Dunn who recently murdered an innocent kid in Florida. The idea of being close to one of these guys is simply a repugnant one.

Going back to MFW, I find it precipitous that, with just a less than a perfunctory analysis, this thing was decided without a charter or even primitive guidelines capable of sustaining organizational scrutiny, monitoring and other measurable performances. Who is going to cover legal fees for possible accidents? Does the City can economically sustain a suit from an accidental fatality? Murphy's Law always apply!

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PearlY 10 months ago

Paco, Chad Oulson, a tall, well-muscled 43-year old, was shot by Curtis Reeves, a 71-year old man, after Oulson stood and confronted him while Reeves was seated, and then struck Mr. Reeves in the face with an "unknown object," putting him in fear for his life. Or at least that's what Mr. Reeves says, and the trial hasn't started yet. Since neither of us was there, we don't know what really happened, but you will tell us anyway because your version of the story plays into your prejudice against guns.

As I said, you are almost certainly close "to one of these guys" (or gals) whenever you go about your business in downtown Walla Walla. If it is so repugnant to you, your only option is to stay home.

And pointing out your tax evasion and hypocrisy wasn't a "blind" shot - you'd confessed to it.

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chicoli 10 months ago

Pearl, let me say it again:"Well, to be honest I must review my taxes and declare taxes not paid for 2 mojitos, huevos rancheros, a flan de vainilla and camarones ahogados to go, at La Ramada. Mea culpa...Oh, God...I'm going to burn in hell for ever!"...unless forgiven by the Omnipotent Pearl!

Like all your stand-your-ground defense; first shoot from your emboldened, bravado attitude, then concoct a defense excuse such as seen an imaginary shinny object, pop corn looking like bullets, or hearing words sounding like " I'm going to kill you son of a bitch"

My prejudice is not against guns. I love the way is done in Israel and in Switzerland. There there are more guns per capita than in the USA, but have an infinitesimal fraction of gun related fatalities an accidents. They do have the most rigid background checks in the world, though.

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bj84711 10 months, 1 week ago

At least paco this is just YOUR opinion. Nothing like trying to impose your views on everybody else. Like pearl said you probably sit next to concealed carry every day. Someday one of them might just save your life.

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chicoli 10 months, 1 week ago

...or end my life, Florida style, as I mentioned to Pearl above!

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barracuda 10 months, 1 week ago

Paco........ I don't see what your complaint is... Seeing as you don't even live in the WW Valley, you don't have to go to M-F ever

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namvet60 10 months, 1 week ago

I see it now - Attorney General Eric Holder will arrive with the Justice department and declare Martial Law and distribute Fast and Furious weapons to Wannabe Gangbangers so that they can protect themselves against the unruly conceal carry Honest Citizens of Milton Freewater. . . . . . . . . . . .

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downhillracer 10 months, 1 week ago

Another example of a disturbed troll offering absolutely nothing of value to the discussion, instead blathering psychotic nonsense.

'Murika!

(how he didn't slip in a 'Benghazi' shriek is beyond me).

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namvet60 10 months, 1 week ago

Maybe it's your inability to comprehend that causes this continuous bitterness to smear the opinion pages?

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barracuda 10 months, 1 week ago

'Murika! That's the second time this word has been used on this topic today..... I see a posting on facebook, where she used it too........... Hmmmm.

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namvet60 10 months, 1 week ago

downhillracer >

Holy Meerkat Batman - OH No sorry - that's a small animal traveling from burrow to burrow - Well . . . . . . . . . . .

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chicoli 10 months, 1 week ago

Namvet, please stop...Ugh !!!!!!!!

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carcrazy 10 months, 1 week ago

No Paco, I wish you and downhiller would stop!!!!!! At least I could understand namvet's clearly written post and the sarcasm he meant to convey.

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barracuda 10 months, 1 week ago

I agree Carcrazy..... Sometimes all they want to do is slam and hurt others.............

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downhillracer 9 months, 4 weeks ago

I reiterate: the nonsensical commentary by 'namvet' is far from sarcastic, and adds nothing of value to the discussion. His verbage represents nothing more than that of a simple gadfly.

Note this is well understood by the community at-large who wish to engage in an honest discussion of the issues we face together.

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barracuda 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Downhiller..... This example of your commentary adds what to the discussion? Nothing other that an attempt to slam NamVet..........

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chicoli 10 months, 1 week ago

Steve, this is a civilize forum, and personal threats are taken seriously. I will notify the UB staff, for them to ask your local police department to ask you a couple of questions tonight or tomorrow. Your attitude demonstrate my point very well, indeed.

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carcrazy 10 months, 1 week ago

Good luck with that paco, you don't understand legal matters very well do you. They will tell you to pull up your big boy pants and quit sniveling. You've been threatening to have the police come visit me for months now. Stevec89's comment was not a personal threat, so get over yourself.

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chicoli 10 months, 1 week ago

Mission accomplished, my friend!

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namvet60 10 months, 1 week ago

paco - where ever you reside you should have an increase in your taxes for all the dry runs you put this imaginary police force on.

Being the self-centered, egotistical liberal loaded with taxpayer funds you could always call Ghostbusters to shed you of your fears.

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chicoli 10 months, 1 week ago

Namvet/ carcrazy: All societies have their share of philistines, lowbrow individuals, and their only valued purpose is to served as a non desirable template for societal behaviors. Certainly not good for our youth as a whole, but undeniably positive for amazing a laughing stock.

Hoping for a better arguing with you both I've decided to up the style of my postings...why don't you guys up yours?

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carcrazy 10 months, 1 week ago

Now that you've described your role in life, I understand you a little better. I'll be watching your postings to see if you follow through with your promise.

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NewInWW 10 months, 1 week ago

Other than having a concealed carry permit, how much training in firearm safety and proper use of force have these armed (non-law enforcement) city employees had? If an armed city employee wounds or kills a person while on city business, the city will inevitably be named in the resulting wrongful death lawsuit. These questions and others will be asked in front of a jury and the city may not be happy with the answers it must give.

It seems to me this decision exposes the city and citizens of M-F to unnecessary potential expense. I'm surprised so many conservative voices are so pleased with this result.

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PearlY 10 months ago

NewInWW, most people I know who have concealed carry permits have taken classes on firearms safety and lawful use of force; we take our responsibilities as firearms owners seriously.

Your concern about liability is reasonable, but the risk of liability is there either way. A city employee who asked to carry, was refused, and then was assaulted or killed on the job would also have a great lawsuit.

I don't know why liberals insist on assuming conservatives want NO government spending. Insurance against liability claims, whether from citizens injured by an employee or an employee injured by a citizen, is a reasonable expenditure of government funds. We could do with a lot fewer government employees, of course, but insuring them is a relatively small part of their cost.

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NewInWW 10 months ago

Your reply sounds reasonable but, parsed, becomes less so.

I accept that one has to take certain classes to obtain a CC permit. However, I suspect there's quite a difference between the training an individual gets to become an armed law enforcement officer as compared to the training needed for a CC permit.

Similarly, I'm not sure what liability the city would have if it denied its employees the right to carry arms on the job. If the city KNEW that there were certain jobs or certain locations that carried a special risk of harm, and if the city employee asked for protection and was denied, I can see liability. But I find it hard to see potential liability as a result of denying the request to carry.

I'm also not as sure as you seem to be that the potential liability resulting from a wrongful killing by an armed non-law enforcement city employee could be insured - at least at reasonable premiums. Law enforcement officers are closely supervised, have strict use of force policies, must (I believe) demonstrate their proficiency periodically, and so on. None of that applies to non-law enforcement armed city employee. Any responsible insurance company would want to evaluate the risk of loss. I'm not sure how they do that without knowing who is carrying, what training they've had, how current their training is, what their current proficiency is, or how disciplined they are on the job (beer at lunch?). That gets to sounding pretty expensive in terms of premiums.

Finally, "liberals insist on assuming that conservatives want NO government spending" because so few conservatives ever admit that ANY government spending is warranted. Perhaps if we - liberals and conservatives - could have a more open, honest and polite discussion, we could each understand the other better. Until then, 9 out of 10 comments here will continue to be sniping, name calling and a similar waste of bandwidth.

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PearlY 10 months ago

I agree with you 100% that some honest, polite discussion would aid in understanding each other. But when you say "so few conservatives ever admit . . . ." I have to ask, how many of us have you actually talked to about it? Or are you relying on what other liberals have told you that conservatives believe? It's curious but, while I have many liberal friends, and most conservatives I know do also, I am usually the ONLY conservative my liberal friends really know (or at least, know that they know - like gay people in former times, many of us prefer to stay 'in the closet').

Back to the topic: In Washington, concealed carry permit holders are not required to take any classes at all. Those who do, do so voluntarily. Of course, many are retired military or LEO, and have undergone what firearms training is available through those sources.

But I invite you to investigate how many firearms injuries or deaths occur among permit-holders who carry, because of lack of training or indeed for any reason. You'll find the numbers are vanishingly small. And for every such incident you find, you're likely to find another by someone who WAS trained - like that police officer a couple of years ago who left his loaded gun within reach of his small children, resulting in the death of one of them.

Insurance companies usually underwrite risk based on statistics, not prejudices. Since concealed-carry permit holders are rare causes of injuries or death, I don't imagine there'd be much trouble with coverage. My homeowner's insurance company has never expressed an interest in whether I keep firearms in my home, my umbrella liability company doesn't even ask if I carry concealed, and I assume that lack of interest is for good reason.

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NewInWW 10 months ago

Interesting. you originally respond to my point about the potential lack of training of the people M-F is now allowing to carry while on the job by stating that "most of the people [you] know who have concealed carry permits have taken classes on firearms safety and lawful use of force. " Now you mention that no such courses are required for a Washington CC permit. My bad for thinking that what "the people you know" did was in any way relevant to the discussion. As it turns out, all you need in Oregon for a CC permit is firearms safety training, no use of force training is required at all. So, I my original point stands.

As for deaths resulting from armed non-LEO citizens, Florida is acting quite the laboratory for that experiment - with the results less than entirely satisfactory.

Insurance companies do underwrite risk based on statistics, however they do so based on how those statistics apply to the particular risk they are asked to insure. Automobile insurers, for example, ask about tickets, DUIs and prior accidents, then use the data about the specific risks they are underwriting, filtered through their relevant statistics, to determine the potential for loss. I doubt that an insurer asked to provide M-F liability insurance would be less interested in the firearms training of the armed non-LEO M-F employees, than my car insurance carrier is in my driving record.

As for your individual insurance coverage, you may take comfort in the lack of questions from your insurance carriers about any weapons you may have; however, the carrier may use your lack of disclosure to deny coverage should an event occur.

Finally, my comments about polite discussion were addressed to this message board. I hope that the folks who post the various hateful, disrespectful, taunting and otherwise insulting things we see here don't act like that in real life.

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PearlY 10 months ago

NewInWW, Technically, there's not much difference between the anecdotal character of my "people I know" comment and your reference to Florida. A few isolated instances of anything are probably not a good basis for public policy.

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NewInWW 10 months ago

I'm not sure I agree with your characterization of two unarmed black teeagers being gunned down in a nine month span by armed men as "isolated instances" which are "not a good basis for public policy." Seems to me they are a perfect basis for examining some of our public policies.

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chicoli 10 months ago

Factual, statistical data shows that, since SYG law was established in 2005, the incidence of fatal shootings more than double, not just in Florida but on all those states that have it.

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carcrazy 10 months ago

Please provide the source of this statistical data.

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chicoli 10 months ago

www.tampabay.com/stand-your-ground

June 12, 2012 by Kris Huntley, Tampa Bay Times staff writer.

Now, from now on I hope you'll treat me with respect!

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namvet60 10 months ago

paco - your website is as phony as you are! Respect? - yah right LOL!

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carcrazy 10 months ago

Sorry paco, I read all of the stories written Kris Hundley and I can't find ANY reference to the statistical data you quoted above. I also asked for your source on the story about the New Jersey Animal Control detail. Since you didn't provide it, I tried to research it and could only come up with a story about a corrupt sheriff's department, not a state program. Please provide accurate information in your "stories" with links to the information. This will help you earn respect from the readers.

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namvet60 10 months, 1 week ago

People worry about a couple of MF personnel with CC licenses working with a weapon? Maybe somebody could explain why the DHS needs 70,000 CC carrying personnel and using this much ammunition? Or are they stockpiling the ammo for the future?

http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/12/dhs-to-purchase-75-1-million-rounds-of-ammunition-this-year/

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VinoTinto 10 months ago

If there's no business need for these folks to carry a gun at work then they shouldn't be allowed to do it. Will managers be able to discipline their employees without being afraid of getting capped. This could potentially be a huge liability for MF. Why not allow workers to bring their dogs to work?

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chicoli 10 months ago

How about authorizing uniforms for these guys? There is a precedent in New Jersey. The Animal Control detail were issued combat weapons to chase and catch raccoons and stray dogs. Later on they were issued uniforms and now they are seen as the Governor's paramilitary force by the state citizens. So much for conservatives criticizing the power of government!

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namvet60 10 months ago

New Jersey is conservative?

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carcrazy 10 months ago

Please cite the source of your information for this story paco.

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PearlY 10 months ago

Vino, you must realize that having a policy against carrying guns on the job and having a reality of no gun carrying on the job are two different things. If a manager needs to discipline a dangerous employee, having something in the manual about no guns is no protection at all against being shot. "Going postal" refers to that risk, and comes out of the post office, where carrying guns is "not allowed." So managers will NEVER be able to discipline employees without being afraid of getting capped, whatever the rulebook might say.

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VinoTinto 10 months ago

Employees should be focusing on their work and not fiddling with their firearms. The same goes with smart phones! Put your phones down and do your job! Work is not free time, that's why it's called work!

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barracuda 10 months ago

Something does not make sense here......... I am seeing a common thread.

Some of these posters believe if you carry a gun to work your automatically a liability. When in reality, the un-licensed, sneaky, thugs who pack a pistol for protection and who have no real training are the true liability. I am willing to bet that there are people who already pack guns, and without any formal training, and they are the real danger to their co-workers and a true liability to the employers.

Here is a scene I hope I never have to have before me: A angry customer comes into a my place of business, and packing a gun, threatens the front desk person who has a license, and has formal training, and is packing a sidearm. Who is better equipt to handle this situation?

I know one of the arguments is...... "why do you need a gun in the work place" and "are you that paranoid of every one around you?" My answer is.... should the teachers at Columbine School been paranoid? What about the teachers at Sandy Hook? I could go on and on........

Like the article says...." It’s like a seat belt,” he said. “You put it on every day and hope it saves your life the day you have a wreck. And when that happens, you are so glad the seat belt was there.”

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pdywgn 10 months ago

Paco are you sure it was Animal Control Officer and not Fish and Wildlife?

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namvet60 10 months ago

If your going to post a link you should at least use something American and from New Jersey instead of some foreign SWAT team.

And what does this have to do with concealed carry in M-F?

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chicoli 10 months ago

See if this refreshes your memory:

"How about authorizing uniforms for these guys( MFW city employees)? There is a precedent in New Jersey. The Animal Control or related detail were issued combat weapons to chase and catch raccoons and stray dogs. Later on they were issued uniforms and now they are seen as the Governor's paramilitary force by the state citizens. So much for conservatives criticizing the power of government!"

How about criticizing the power of Mr. Christy?

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namvet60 10 months ago

Maybe the print was blurred - WHAT does a small northeastern town in Oregon have to do with the Governor 3000 miles away?

If you want to change topics let's converse over this Administrations scandals: Hillary's missed 2 O'clock phone call while 4 Americans were being slaughtered and tortured, the IRS scandal or maybe this fiasco they call Obamacare (that the President has taken upon himself to change 30 times and still not working)? There are multiple others that you liberals seem to think just disappears because MSNBC says so or the Dictators dialogue you get from the WH website.

If you want something else to hash over we could also include this little tidbit of conversation: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/18/former-us-congressman-arrested-in-zimbabwe/

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namvet60 10 months ago

MyFamNews - here's a little tidbit of the validity of your gawker website:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/gawker-quentin-tarantino-were-safely-681804

Very interesting - wouldn't you say?

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peaches 10 months ago

In MY opinion it is a GREAT idea!!!

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chicoli 9 months, 4 weeks ago

A great idea? This extravagant, scandalous used of tax payers money to inflate the power of New Jersey's Government is outrageous! Good grief...am I the only one against the power of Government?

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barracuda 9 months, 4 weeks ago

Paco...... Ever look at what she was commenting on? Look at the head lines.. Not NJ stuff!!!!

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carcrazy 9 months, 4 weeks ago

And it was a local Sheriff's department paco, not the state of New Jersey.

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chicoli 9 months, 4 weeks ago

The Sheriff is an elected position, payed by tax payers. He is accountable directly to the Constitution of the state, the US Constitution and government statutes. He protects citizens in accordance with established laws. Laws are established by Government.

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namvet60 9 months, 4 weeks ago

paco - you really go to reaching to make a point but it is ludicrous to think that if it happened in a liberal state you wouldn't make a peep!

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