ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A Roswell city councilor wants to be able to defend himself if someone pulls out a gun and starts shooting during a meeting. He’s pointing to the shooting at the Clovis library for why city employees should be able to arm themselves at work.
The councilor wants to allow Roswell employees to carry on city property — everywhere from libraries to the mayor’s office. As you can imagine, there are mixed feelings on the idea.
Citizens have a constitutional right to bear arms, but in the workplace, it becomes a tricky situation and employers can prohibit their employees from doing so.
“In the employee handbook right now it does not allow for the majority of our employees to carry firearms,” explained City Councilor Jason Perry, and he thinks on city property that shouldn’t be the case.
He says the topic has been on his mind for a while now but he became convinced after the Clovis library shooting last month. A gunman opened fire, killing two and injuring four others.
“You would’ve never dreamed that a library would be a place where you would have to feel like you have to protect yourself. It should be a safe place,” Perry said.
He presented his idea to a city council committee Thursday night to allow employees on any city property to carry a weapon, from the library to the water department.
Fellow Councilor Jeanine Best gave the idea her nod, but Councilor Juan Oropesa voted against it. Oropesa was unavailable for an interview Friday, but said by phone he’s not a gun person and believes it would do more harm than good.
So what do residents think?
“Everyone should have the right to defend themselves and others,” said Roswell resident, Jonathan Sparnon.
Roswell resident Terry Hall had a different view: “I just figure the less guns on the street the better.”
Meanehile, Roswell resident Melisa Lujan disagreed: “More and more every year we’re hearing about shootings, so I’m all for it.”
While Roswell city employees carrying concealed weapons would be new, it is not new in other parts of the state.
“There are other government entities within the state of New Mexico who have said, ‘Look we are going to make sure our people have the right to protect themselves,’” Perry added.
The proposal will now have to go before the full city council for approval. It’s scheduled to be heard on October 12. If the measure does pass, employees who wish to carry a gun must get a concealed carry permit through the state.