Fairbanks considering allowing armed employees

FAIRBANKS — Employees of the Fairbanks North Star Borough would be allowed to carry firearms on the job under an ordinance under consideration by the borough assembly.

Borough assemblyman Lance Roberts, who proposed the ordinance, said it’s a matter of safety.

“Employees aren’t able to carry concealed and able to defend themselves in a situation that they might need to,” Roberts said during a recent work session meeting. “I think it’s important with all the incidents out there to realize how unsafe it is for gun-free zones.”

Mayor Luke Hopkins said he is strongly opposed to armed employees, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday.

“It’s not what I want in this workplace,” Hopkins said.

According to borough human resources manager Sallie Stuvek, the measure would increase liability and insurance rates. She said the proposed ordinance raises concerns about potential problems such as intimidation and accidents.

The proposed ordinance will be considered at an assembly meeting Thursday night.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough is a local government that covers 7,361 square miles and has 82,840 residents. It’s similar to a county government in other states.

Two amendments to the ordinance have been proposed, including one by Roberts that would bar borough employees from carrying firearms onto private property without permission from the property owner.

The other, by assemblyman Michael Dukes, would require employees to first obtain a conceal carry permit from the state of Alaska. The state allows people who can legally own a firearm to carry a concealed gun without a permit.

Dukes said he believes borough employees should be able to carry, but that as an employer, the borough needs to ensure it has minimal liability.

“Basically, it limits the borough’s liability by making sure anyone who is carrying concealed on the job has gone through the proper courses and understand the law and the use of deadly force,” Dukes said.

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