Editorials

Bredefeld thinks he knows more about guns, public safety than Chief Dyer

Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld, right, wants to let city employees carry concealed weapons on the job without the approval of the city manager. Mayor Lee Brand, left, and Police Chief Jerry Dyer oppose his idea on multiple grounds.
Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld, right, wants to let city employees carry concealed weapons on the job without the approval of the city manager. Mayor Lee Brand, left, and Police Chief Jerry Dyer oppose his idea on multiple grounds.

Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld’s latest idea is a classic example of a solution in search of a problem.

In case you missed it, The Bee’s Tim Sheehan reported last week that Bredefeld wants a blanket authorization for city employees who already are licensed to carry a concealed weapon to be able to take their guns to work.

The biggest problem with Bredefeld’s proposed resolution is that City Hall already has a sound policy in place. Employees with carry permits can ask for permission to carry their sidearms while doing the city’s work. Their requests are evaluated by the city manager who decides yes or no.

Mayor Lee Brand and Police Chief Jerry Dyer, who is responsible for issuing conceal-and-carry permits within the city limits, oppose Bredefeld’s on multiple grounds – including the fact that the right to carry on the job would be subject to work-rules negotiation with City Hall labor units.

“I’m a strong proponent of citizens having the ability to carry firearms, as long as they go through the appropriate process and background checks,” Dyer told Sheehan. “But there is a difference when you cross over into the workplace. For anyone who chooses to carry a firearm at work that I issue a permit to, I require a letter from their employer that authorizes that to occur.

“It should depend on the employee’s work assignment, their work history, temperament – all of that has to be considered, and to also make sure the employee receives frequent training on decision-making with a firearm.”

What’s more, Dyer pointed out, even police officers, with extensive training on decision-making under high-stress situations, “may make a decision that they shouldn’t have made” using a gun.

Brand, like Dyer, is a strong Second Amendment supporter. In fact, Brand, as a city councilman, wrote the 2011 change to the municipal code that loosened the rules for concealed weapons permits that had been in place for 16 years.

The new requirements gave the police chief the latitude to allow any citizens who are concerned about their safety to get permits as long as they are over 21 years old, reside in the city and have no criminal record. These rules also enabled the city to mirror Fresno County’s longstanding policy.

For the record, Brand, a concealed-weapon permit holder, on occasion carries his gun while conducting city business. He does so legally, having received permission from then City Manager Mark Scott in 2008.

The mayor characterized Bredefeld’s idea as “overkill, and an overreach by a City Council member over the authority of the city manager and the police chief.” Brand also said that he would veto the resolution if it passes. That means Bredefeld would need the backing of four other council members to override a veto.

We don’t see that happening. It’s far more likely that Bredefeld, who specializes in pushing hot-button issues, will find himself whistling in the wind.

We hope that the councilman resets his agenda away from drawing attention to himself and starts collaborating with his colleagues and Brand to address Fresno’s most important issues.

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