‘A swing and a miss’
Published 8:58 am Thursday, August 15, 2019
City commission meets opposition over recent revision to policy and procedures
The Nicholasville City Commission was met with opposition at Monday night’s meeting after a concerned citizen took the stand and spoke out concerning its recent policy and procedure passed in March to ban concealed and carry weapons in and on city property.
“In March, at a meeting on the 11, this commission passed a municipal order revision of the city’s policies and procedures (and) when you passed that municipal order you committed a state crime,” Stephen McBride, president of the Kentucky Concealed and Carry Coalition said. “Item t (in the handbook) says that employees are prohibited to carry firearms in a city owned vehicle or building. No city in the state of Kentucky can have such a policy. It is illegal. It is a punishable offense.”
City Attorney Darren Sammons spoke concerning the allegation and said the item was on the agenda that night to be addressed and changed after McBride had brought it to the city’s attention.
“Six weeks ago to be exact (it was brought to your attention),” McBride said. “If you go down to section six of the statue, there is a violation of the statue. Official misconduct first degree, it will get you a year in jail.”
Sammons spoke out against McBride by stating he did not like him characterizing it as being illegal.
“It might be contrary to law, but it is not a crime sir,” Sammons said. “We are fixing it tonight.”
Mayor Peter Sutherland agreed with Sammons, and thanked McBride for bringing it to the city’s attention. However, after the meeting was complete and the city had passed a policy amending the former revision to its policy and procedure handbook, McBride stood and told the commission it was still not in compliance.
“I don’t think that the Nicholasville City Council is trying to violate the law, I just think they have not done their homework,” McBride said after the meeting. “They did not realize what they are getting into and never looked to see if they had any authority to do that.”
According to KRS 237.115, “the legislative body of a state, city, county, or urban-county government may, by statute, administrative regulation, or ordinance, prohibit or limit the carrying of concealed deadly weapons by licensees in that portion of a building owned, leased, or controlled by that unit of government. That portion of a building in which the carrying of concealed deadly weapons is prohibited or limited shall be clearly identified by signs posted at the entrance to the restricted area.”
According to McBride, the city cannot ban firearms by policy.
The statue requires them to pass an ordinance. Although, even if it was to pass the ordinance, McBride said they do not have the ability to reprimand anyone for doing so.
According to KRS 237.115, “the statute, administrative regulation, or ordinance shall not specify any criminal penalty for its violation but may specify that persons violating the statute or ordinance may be denied entrance to the building, ordered to leave the building.”
“A city cannot pass statutes,” McBride said. “Administrative regulations are the same thing. That leaves only one option and that is the ordinance… all of the city councils and fiscal courts do not want to take that vote and put their hands up and say it. I don’t question the legality of what they are trying to do, I just question the wisdom of it. They seem intent upon doing it, but I am going to try and see that they do it in the proper manner.”
McBride said he has been in contact with Sutherland and Sammons for over six weeks and they have not been responsive.
“What they did last night I can only describe as a swing and a miss,” McBride said. “They took a shot, but it was more of the same.”
Sammons said after the meeting that McBride is mistaken, and the city did find out there was a conflict with their personnel policy, however it was correctly amended at Monday night’s meeting.
“We made an amendment,” Sammons said. “As long as it doesn’t conflict with state law or federal law, we can make our policies in a way that the mayor and commission deem best.”