Manatee County debates arming employees
Manatee County may soon have an armed workforce.
What's happening: Manatee's board of commissioners debated for two hours Tuesday after Commissioner James Satcher proposed a policy change that would allow employees to arm themselves while at work, per the Bradenton Herald.
- This comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis began pushing for an open carry law last week.
Context: Those properly licensed in Manatee can bring firearms on county property, but county employees are prohibited from carrying guns on the job.
What they're saying: "Gun-free zones should be called criminal empowerment zones. They basically just let the bad guys know exactly where to target," Satcher said at a public meeting, per the Herald.
- "I feel we have a similar situation right now with (nearly) 2,000 county employees that are not allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights while they're at work."
The other side: Commissioner Reggie Bellamy was the only one to vote Tuesday against researching a new policy, proposing instead a review of the county's security systems. He expressed concern about a county employee shooting a coworker or a member of the public.
- "We do want to make sure everyone is protected, but we can take different angles to make sure those protections are in place," Bellamy said at the meeting.
What's next: Commissioners voted to direct county staff to research the issue before it's brought up again at a public meeting on July 26.
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