At its May 16, 2018, the City of Oxford, Mississippi’s Board of Aldermen adopted a remarkably sensible and progressive policy regarding the use and possession of firearms by City employees. The entire policy is pasted below but here are the highlights:
- Every (non-LEO) employee must possess an enhanced firearm’s license;
- All armed employees must register with human resources; and
- All armed employees must be approved by their department head.
The City policy also recognizes the rights of employees to store a firearm in their locked, private vehicle consistent with Miss. Code Ann. section 45-9-55. It is my observation that many, if not most, employers violate this statute since the law prohibits not just taking adverse action against an employee but also establishing or maintaining a policy which prohibits having a firearm in the private vehicle unless there is a gate, security station, or other restrictive apparatus. I have successfully sued two different companies over this issue, setting precedent for future cases, but think that is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
Possession or use of a firearm, illegal knife as defined by Mississippi law, explosive, and other prohibited weapons of any kind, while on City owned, leased, or controlled property, or while operating City owned, leased, or controlled vehicles is prohibited, unless the employee, is a duly authorized law enforcement official, or unless they are otherwise authorized, according to state law with an approved Enhanced Concealed Carry Permit. In this instance, they shall be allowed to carry or possess any pistol, firearm, or other weapon on City property. All Enhanced Concealed Carry permitted employees must register with Human Resources prior to possessing their weapon on City property, and must be approved by the department head as part of the employee’s uniform.
If not approved by Human Resources or department head, Mississippi law allows employees who may otherwise legally possess a firearm to bring it onto the City’s parking lots provided that the firearm and ammunition are kept in the employee’s vehicle in accordance with Mississippi Code Ann. § 45-9- 101 [sic]. In this case, the firearm and ammunition, however, may not be removed from the vehicle while it is on City property. Removal of the firearm and ammunition from the vehicle may result in discipline, up to and including immediate discharge unless the employee is in compliance with state law. The City will not discharge or take any adverse employment action against an employee who is in compliance with § 45-9- 101 (a) or 97-37-7.