Safety and OSHA News

Kansas senator: Employees are ‘defenseless’ against workplace shootings

Following a workplace shooting in Kansas, a state senator suggested armed employees could’ve saved lives, which begs the question: Can safety managers really prevent a workplace shooting? Or is this really a political issue?

If you missed the news: Cedric Ford, 38, shot 14 of his co-workers and killed three at a factory in Hesston, KS, on Feb. 26. Ford had been served a protective order that Friday afternoon, which authorities say may have set off his attack. Ninety minutes after receiving the order, Ford opened fire at the factory.

Hesston police chief, Jeff Schroeder, stopped the rampage when he entered the factory and shot and killed Ford. Harvey County Sheriff, T. Walton, called Schroeder a “tremendous hero” because there were still up to 300 people in the building and Ford “wasn’t done by any means.” Schroeder also entered without backup.

Ford had several criminal convictions in Florida over the past decade, including charges for burglary and grand theft. There were also pictures of Ford on Facebook posing with guns.

Following the shooting, Kansas Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, claims to have received an anonymous text message, which said, “The blood of the Hesston victims is on your hands as much as the shooter.”

Knox described the text message in an e-mail to his constituents. In the e-mail, Knox said “perhaps I do share some responsibility in this shooting, but not as the sender intended.”

Knox has been a strong supporter of loosening the state’s gun laws, according to the Wichita Eagle. Last month he supported a bill that would enable public sector employees to carry concealed guns when they go off-site as part of their jobs.

In Kansas, it’s legal to carry concealed weapons inside public buildings. A new state law will require colleges to allow concealed weapons on their campuses starting in July 2017. Private businesses, however, can restrict weapons.

Knox says the exemption for private businesses should stand – they have private property rights. But he added that companies that restrict weapons “require defenselessness of their employees.”

The senator told The Eagle:

“It’s a sad world, but the point is, it’s a gun that stops these sorts of things. And the closer the gun is, the quicker that happens, the better off people are.”

What do you think of Knox’s comments? Are there any security or safety measures that could have stopped Ford from shooting and killing his co-workers? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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