BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — Manatee County employees will soon get the green light on Tuesday to carry guns in the workplace. Commissioners voted to make changes to the existing policy during a meeting this morning.
The existing policy prohibits the “possession, use or threat of use of a deadly weapon” while on county property. The policy change which was approved by a unanimous vote says the county will take “no measure to prohibit any county employee from carrying a concealed weapon.”
Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge previously said, “They have a constitutional right to carry. They have a constitutional right to defend themselves, and they should. These folks want to go home to their families every single night.”
Commissioner James Satcher has continued to described the measure as a matter of safety and security for county employees.
“I don’t want to be in a position ever where I am the one that made some silly rule that made it where they can’t protect themselves from some criminal,” he said.
When the board brought up the issue in April, some community members voiced concerns about transparency during the process, but during Tuesdays meeting, only one individual spoke out against the policy change.
“Guns don’t kill. It is the bullets that do, and the people that direct those bullets. I just thought it was improper for them to want to give people the right to carry a concealed weapon in a public place,” said Jeanette Eubanks Kelly. “You cannot stop a person that wants to do some thing from doing it. [It] don’t matter how hard you try, if someone is bent on revenge, they are going to find a way of doing it,” she continued.
The policy change covers all departments and buildings where carrying a weapon is not banned under state law. It goes into effect on July 1.