HABERSHAM COUNTY, Ga. - City workers in one north Georgia town can now legally carry guns to work.
Demorest is believed to be the first city in Georgia to pass such an ordinance.
The city council approved the new rule Tuesday night.
Mayor Rick Austin spearheaded the policy change. He says if citizens are allowed to carry weapons into public places under the law, Demorest employees should be afforded the same right.
“We are correcting what I view and many view as an inequality in the law,” he said. “It allows equal protection for our employees to carry it they so choose.”
Those who wish to take their gun to work must have a concealed carry permit, notify their supervisor and pass a police training course.
“The standards are going to be strict, similar to what our officers are doing,” Chief Robin Krockum said.
Krockum supports the new policy and believes it will make for a safer workplace.
“If something were to happen, they would be the first in the line of defense if something were to happen before we would get there,” he said.
Channel 2’s Tom Regan talked to residents who say they support the change.
“I’m thinking this way. If someone came in with a gun and started shooting people, if I had a gun, I would use it. So I think it would be good,” Peggy Johnson said.
Other residents weren’t so fond of the idea.
“That’s stupid,” said John Rainey, who described himself as a war veteran. “It’s not that bad around here. I’ve been here for 40 years, and it ain’t that bad.”
Demorest is home to Piedmont College, and students Regan spoke to support the policy.
“If they have that option, you might as well give it to them if it makes them feel safe and secure,” Katherine Young said.
Austin carries a concealed weapon himself and says he thinks other cities will follow Demorest’s lead.
"The more people that are legally carrying, the safer places are," he said.
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