Battle Ground to consider letting employees concealed carry
Should Battle Ground’s non-law enforcement employees be allowed to carry a handgun while working? Councilor Shane Bowman asked for the issue to be discussed during the council’s regular meeting Monday evening.
Current city policy does not allow employees to carry a gun, knife or other weapons while on duty, even if the employee has a concealed carry permit.
“This was a policy that was brought forth this year. It disqualified a candidate that we had for parking enforcement, which caused us to go almost 11 months without a parking enforcement person,” Bowman said during the meeting.
After learning the policy led the candidate to not accept a position with the city, Bowman said he asked where the policy originated from. While he said he understands the city is allowed to make policy prohibiting employees from carrying a concealed weapon, he disagrees with that policy.
“I think our employees, if they have a concealed weapon permit, should be allowed to carry if they would like to. I know for some people it may be a concern because some people don’t necessarily like that,” he said.
Bowman said it would be up to the city manager to work out the specifics if the policy is changed.
“I don’t think we have people who are out looking to be heroes and stop crime and do that kind of stuff. I think it’s a protection thing,” Bowman said, adding that employees in some departments – such as public works or parking enforcement staff – are more vulnerable and are more often put in tense situations.
Deputy Mayor Cherish DesRochers asked if the city would be liable should an employee discharge a weapon while on duty. City Manager Erin Erdmann confirmed the city would have additional liability if the policy is changed.
“We have more liability every time one of our employees gets in a car and drives than we do with a firearm,” Bowman said. “Is it any different than you driving one of our vehicles and hitting someone?”
The council will discuss the issue in greater detail at the next regular meeting on Dec. 18. Residents can attend in person or watch online at https://www.youtube.com/@battlegroundcitycouncil1129/streams.
Regular council meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held in council chambers at Battle Ground City Hall, 109 Southwest First St.
— Shari Phiel