2020-09-20 10:08:47 UTC
civil servants to carry concealed firearms at work in the
aftermath of a mass shooting that left 12 people dead last month.
Vincent Smith, an engineer who is also the evacuation manager in
the building where the shooting took place, wants city officials
to end the gun-free zone policy pertaining to municipal
employees while at work. Current policy only allows the public
to carry firearms in the municipal center.
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"In the wake of recent tragic events, it has become abundantly
apparent that this employee weapons possession ban must end,"
the petition reads. "Time and again we have tragically witnessed
that gun-free zones are in fact some of the most dangerous and
vulnerable places in America. We are petitioning to allow our
properly permitted City personnel to have the right to bear arms
and defend themselves while at work. Such arms will be required
to remain concealed."
The petition had garnered nearly 2,600 signatures as of
Smith started a similar petition in 2016 after seeing what he
deemed to be red flags in evacuation plans and security on city
property. That petition received only 260 signatures, including
Bert Snelling, a contractor killed in the May 31 shooting.
The gap was not "allowing employees to carry a firearm if
they're qualified," he told WTKR-TV of perceived security
lapses. "Instead, people were forced like I am every day to
choose between earning a living and saving my life."
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Smith envisions a program where the city vets employees wishing
to bring firearms to work through background checks and
"I don't propose that every employee with a concealed permit be
able to carry it at work," he told the news station.
DeWayne Craddock, 40, an engineer with the Virginia Beach
utilities department, left a resignation letter hours before his
May 31 rampage in which he opened fire on his co-workers. He was
killed in a firefight with police.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has called a special legislative
session for July 9 to take up gun measures. He wants lawmakers
to consider a ban on silencers -- like the one Craddock used to
kill his 11 co-workers and Snelling --and universal background