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Tracy Glanton Quoted in Gun Law Article

As appearing in the The Walton Tribune on August 27, 2014

Social Circle to clarify workers’ right to carry gun
by Raquel Williams

SOCIAL CIRCLE – With the enforcement of HB 60 in full force, the Social Circle council discussed their concerns and considerations on a Weapons in the Workplace policy at their monthly meeting last Tuesday.

“(The policy) sets out to regulate who can carry firearms and who can't.  Of course, for the law enforcement folks, they've got to carry a firearm.  It's kind of a prerequisite.  For others, it sets to spell out when they can or cannont,” Police Chief Terry Sosebee said.  “For some people firearms are very controversial and everything, but for others it's just the way they were raised or what they became accustomed to.”

City official are less concerned about the citizens' part in the policy and more concerned about clarifying stipulations for city employees like firefighters.

“We have an interesting situation in that we have firemen who been certified as police officers and we also have some police officers who were at once certified as police officers,” Sosebee said.  “The question came from the firefighters who were POST certified on the wording of the statue and the proposed policy for the city is about a person carrying weapons in their vehicles.”

Sosebee said the firefighters who are cross-trained are already required to stay up to date annually on their training, the law will just firm up their unique situation.  It will also work in reverse and clarity the expectations of police offers who are cross trained as fire fighters.

“To maintain their certifications here in Georgia, those offices have to qualify at least once a year with a firearm or the ones they’re issued.  They also have to get use of deadline force training once a year.  What we do and alot of agencies do, every time we go for qualification, we include use of deadly force as a part of that raining session so we ensure everyone gets it and, of course, we document on post.  This is so that every(one) gets the same training,” he said.

Attorney Tracy Glanton, of Elarbee Thompson Sapp & Wilson LLP in Atlanta, is working on the final draft to be voted on at the Sept. 16 council meeting.  For now, she is taking into consideration the thoughts of city officials – but also keeping them abreast of how their concerns match up with the state law.

“The governing body should consider whether to allow its employees to carry weapons in the workplace, including in government-owned vehicles.  The law did not hinge a local government’s authority to regulate the carrying of weapons by employees in the course of their employment,” she said.  “The new law does make clear, however, that the governing body cannot regulate the carrying of weapons by employees who work under the sheriff or chief of police; only the sheriff or chief of police can regulate the carrying of weapons by such employees.”

Glanton makes clear that with more attention on certain rights for residents to carry weapons, there may be more confusion and questions.

“With respect to the community, we may begin to see more armed citizens who are exercising their right to carry their weapons than we have seen in the past, particularly because unless otherwise banned, licensed carriers can bring their weapons into nearly any location in the community,” she said.  “As government agencies and citizens both adjust to the new law, there are bound o be misunderstandings regarding their respective rights.”

City official are not as worried about citizens and feel those who carry weapons with adequate permission will outnumber those who may not.

“Some folks don’t like firearms and just aren’t around them often,” Sosebee said.  “For others it’s just a part of their regular lives because they go hunting or practice shooting or things like that.  It’s just a difference in personality and things like that some too.”

“I’m used to carrying a gun.  I’ve done it for 30 something years and I don’t have a big problem with it.  Like others may pick up an ink pen to go to work or a laptop, it’s just a tool of what they do for a living.”