Vernon city employees still uncertain about being able to carry

Local News

VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — Uncertainty remains in Vernon on whether or not city employees will be able to carry concealed weapons on the job.

After two recent tragedies like the ones in El Paso and the Midland/Odessa region, Vernon Mayor Doug Jeffrey started questioning how prepared would Vernon be for the same thing.

“I started looking and I said “you know what, what do we have as a city the ability to make sure our people are safe, number one but also if there were something violent happen, would they be able to defend themselves,” Jeffrey said.

After meeting with City Manager Marty Mangum, they came up with a plan that would allow city employees the right to carry.

“We live in Texas and we have a lot of people that work for the city that have concealed carry and or just open carry licenses from the state,” Jeffrey said. “Licensed by the state and I said, “you know what, why don’t we allow them to carry while they are on the job.”

When it was first brought up in September, commissioners decided to table it to Tuesday night’s meeting to gain more information. Mangum said there is one concern that had to be looked at before voting.

“Is it safe for the employees and is it safe for the public,” Mangum said. “The whole idea of the whole thing is to increase safety of employees that are working for the city. So, we want to be very careful that anything we do adds to that safety rather than detracts from it.”

City employees would have certain requirements they’ll have to meet to be allowed to carry.

“We want to make sure that they are licensed and make sure we know who’s carrying from a safety standpoint,” Jeffrey said. “If the state of Texas says ‘hey you are good enough to carry to have a licensed to carry’ that’s good enough for us.”

With the ordinance up in the air, it’s back to the drawing board, as Mangum and Jeffrey consult with city employees.

The city also talked about putting regulations on off-highway vehicles on city streets like they currently have with golf carts to comply with House Bill 1548. They decided to take no action on that item instead asked to gather more options for what the ordinance would look like.

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