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Concealed carry rule heads to City Council; Councilman says Clovis library shooting illustrates need for self-defense

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City Councilman Jason Perry speaks on behalf of Resolution 17-50, a proposal that, if passed, would allow city employees to carry concealed weapons on city property. A city council committee recommended the resolution in a 2-1 vote and will be discussed by the entire city council on Oct. 12. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

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A resolution enabling city employees to carry concealed weapons on city property has been sent to the city’s full council for the consideration of approval after a 2-1 committee vote Thursday afternoon.

According to councilmember Jason Perry, who initiated the discussion for the resolution, the full council will make a decision on Oct. 12.

“It’s a resolution,” Perry explained after the committee meeting in City Hall. “It’ll require a majority of the council to approve it. If at that point it’s approved, it’s done.”

Perry said the topic has been on his mind for “quite a while,” but the Clovis library shooting was the wake-up call.

“For a while, I’ve had much concerns,” he said during the meeting. “But then when this happened up in Clovis with the shooting with the librarians, it just (broke) my heart to think that a young lady who just wanted to devote her life to helping kids learn how to read and expand their education (is gone). Now – her husband’s a widower.

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“Whoever thought that a library would be a place where you’d see an act of terrorism – yet we saw it just an hour and a half from our own home here.

“I can’t say that if city employees were concealed carrying that it would have stopped anything – but it would have at least given them an opportunity to defend theirself.”

Perry compared the city of Roswell to Chaves County, which allows their employees to carry concealed weapons.

“This is not something new, we’re not inventing the wheel,” he said. “There are other governmental agencies that are already doing this, so we’re just coming up to where other standards are.”

According to the Alamogordo Daily News, in February 2016, Otero County Commissioners voted unanimously to allow county employees to carry firearms in the workplace, either open carry or concealed with a permit.

According to the Artesia Daily Press, in April 2016, Eddy County Commissioners approved a resolution to allow county employees to carry concealed weapons on their person while at work.

Perry said he had made phone calls to nearby areas before introducing the resolution to Roswell.

“We do try to see what other cities are doing,” he said. “I just think that we’re in a place where we need to let our people have the right that they’re given not only by our nation, but also by our state constitution and give folks the right to protect not only theirselves, but others around them.”

Perry, along with Jeanine Best and Juan Oropesa, made up the committee that approved the motion to send the resolution to full council.

Best, who was in the meeting by phone, seconded the motion with no questions.

Oropesa, who voted against the motion, did not have any questions, but rather a comment.

“I haven’t received any calls for or against this item,” he said. “But I’m not a pro-gun person, so I’m not going to support it.”

Perry, acknowledging Oropesa’s concerns, referenced a time when he lived in Mexico, where he said it’s illegal for individuals to own a gun.

“I’ll tell you firsthand, all that means is good people don’t have guns,” Perry said. “That’s all it means. Bad people don’t obey a lot of laws. They’re not going to follow the law when it comes to illegal possession or illegal substance.

“So when you have a law that prohibits someone from carrying a firearm, all you’re doing is prohibiting a decent, moral, ethical person from protecting theirself, because the bad person doesn’t care – they’re going into that hospital with a gun, they’re going into that library with a gun – they’re going into that school with a gun, and here we have helpless people because one person has the death sentence in their hand.”

After the motion passed, Perry said he simply believes that if people within the community are going to work for the city and willing to give their time and passion to make this city better – they should have the right to defend themselves.

“This is not a mandate … but it gives (city employees) the ability to have the constitutional right, even at the workplace.”

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.