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Milwaukee debates workers carrying guns at city job sites

A picture of American Sewer Services workers with guns on a Milwaukee city job has lead to two layoffs and plenty of outrage from aldermen.

"The fact that they were playing with guns, and showing off. I think the guy that took the picture needs to be terminated as well," Alderman Russell Stamper said.

The city is looking to ban future contractors from carrying guns, but city attorneys say it could be difficult, given they aren't actual city employees.

"We really have to address the fundamental legal question, which is what can we do with regard to our contractors from a legal standpoint," said Assistant City Attorney Kathryn Block.

Alderman Bob Donovan says there's a different issue; he says some city workers are breaking the rules by carrying guns because they don't feel safe.

"The elephant in the room is the safety issue," Donovan said. "And we have individuals who are unwilling to come to Milwaukee, and individuals who are unwilling to work in certain neighborhoods."

Other aldermen say that practice should stop immediately.

"They should not be carrying weapons," Alderwoman Milele Coggs said. "City workers, when they agree to be employed by the city of Milwaukee, they agree to the policies that the city has. And the city clearly has employment policies of no weapon carrying."

Aldermen say they're getting the process rolling by drafting the new rule, even though city attorneys are still looking into what they're allowed to do. Their goal is to have a proposal for the council to vote on by January.

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