A few weeks ago, Northampton County Council member Lamont McClure questioned that practice, stating it has a "chilling effect" on the right to bear arms. Although I agreed with the Sheriff, the rest of you agreed with McClure.
One of you argued, "If you want to make the argument that employers should be contacted when someone applies for a concealed carry permit, that's a pretty slippery slope. Should employers also be contacted by the government if they haven't paid their income taxes? After all, employees who aren't paying their tax bills might be more likely to embezzle. I'm guessing that most of us don't want our employers having access to our tax records."
I ended up conceding I was wrong.
Last Thursday. McClure introduced a non-binding resolution requesting the Sheriff only to contact an applicant's employer as a last resort. "It is felt that contacting an employer has the distinct potential to create an unjustifiable chill on the employer / employee relationship in this time of economic hardship and uncertainty." McClure also characterized the Sheriff's background check a form of "bureaucratic harassment."
Council Prez Ron Angle worried that McClure's resolution is "interfering with the Sheriff's office." Council member Ann McHale suggested tabling the resolution and inviting the Sheriff to appear before Council to explain his rationale.
The motion to table passed 6-2, with McClure and Tom Dietrich voting against it. Council member Bruce Gilbert had to leave the meeting early and missed the vote.