Arming Fort Myers public officials to prevent the next mass shooting victims

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Some of the weapons city officials could use in the proposal. (Credit: WINK News)
Some of the weapons city officials could use in the proposal. (Credit: WINK News)

After tragedies like the Virginia Beach shooting where a disgruntled city employee killed 12 people at a municipal building last month, Fort Myers city leaders have made an emphasis on increasing security.

Now, there are new security measures in place at city council meetings. Everyone gets scanned by a handheld metal detector before heading into the building. Johnny Streets, a city council member, wants to arm public officials.

“If the council feels this is something that would give them a measure of security where they could control themselves for their own destiny,” Streets said, “I am for that.”

There have been security concerns following a scene of a mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal building. Council meetings already have several armed police officers on duty.

The proposal to allow public officials to carry during council meetings could hit a snag right away. State law does not allow any other guns inside the government buildings, like city hall, where elected employees meet.

Council Member Kevin Anderson is concerned about the city’s liability in a shooting situation and how far the proposal would go.

“It could be interpreted as anyone who works for the city,” Anderson said. “If it’s just a select few, then what’ the message we’re sending, ‘Hey, because of your position, we deem you more important than this job over here.'”

A big responsibility, he said, some may not be able to handle.

“Not everybody is of the right state of mind to be armed and conduct themselves appropriate with [the] use of a firearm,” Anderson said.

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