IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The Iredell County Board of Commissioners were talking about concealed carry policies at their meeting Tuesday night.
A public hearing was held on the topic of county employees carrying concealed weapons at their place of work. It's something commissioners have discussed for years, according to James Mallory III, who is a board chairman.
Mallory said that members of the public are currently allowed to concealed carry and open carry in Iredell County facilities, but county employees aren't allowed to carry at all.
He said a new proposed policy would change two county ordinances. The proposed policy would put a restriction on concealed carry rights for members of the public. The public would only be able to concealed carry in county facilities if they had gone through the proper training and a background check.
Also under the new policy, county employees would be allowed to concealed carry in Iredell County buildings. However, the county employees would be required to go through training, permitting and an annual background check. Mallory said they would also be subject to strict restrictions as to how they would be allowed to handle their gun at work.
He said the hope is that the proposed policy would further help to keep employees and members of the public safe in county facilities.
"We just want to try to prevent as best we can the heartache of losing our employees or citizens that happen to be in our county buildings to shooters who intend to do harm," said Mallory.
Only three members of the public spoke about the proposed policy at Tuesday night's meeting. All three Iredell County residents were skeptical of the new concealed carry proposal.
"We're not living in the Wild Wild West. We're living in the United States," said former county employee Robin Williams.
Williams was concerned about the potential dangers that could come with a firearm being in the wrong employee's hands. "Working in a stressful environment, having access to a concealed weapon, you never know what may happen," said Williams.
Mallory said the board would be looking to get more feedback before anything is decided regarding the proposed policy. "Really how our employees react, how the general public reacts is gonna be important to our decision making process," he said.
Mallory said it could be another four to five months before the board revisits this topic.