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County Commission Approves Concealed Carry for Staff


BRADENTON  At Tuesday's meeting, Manatee County Commissioners voted 7-0 to approve a policy to allow county staff to carry concealed firearms, consistent with state laws, while on duty.

On April 11, commissioners directed staff to formalize the language of revising the personnel policy to allow county employees to carry concealed firearms at work after the issue was brought forward by Commissioner James Satcher (R-Dist. 1).

""I had employees who had retired from law enforcement and the military who worked here at the county and were not able to exercise their 2nd amendment right, when they came on the job,"" said Satcher. ""So, it concerned me, and it's taken a while to get to this point where we're making this vote, but I'm glad we finally are. I believe that when our forefathers adopted the 2nd amendment, the point wasn't so that people could go out and hunt pheasants. The point was that if you looked at history at that point in time nations were taking advantage of the individual. They were using military power to trample on personal rights. So, the point was for people to be able to protect themselves if they needed to, and also their nation.""

The policy will exclude long guns and/or rifles and does not allow an employee to openly carry a gun in public. The right for staff to carry a concealed firearm while working will be subject to the following limitations:

I. An employee must be over 21 years of age, not have a disqualifying felony, not have a domestic violence charge on his/her record, or an injunction prohibiting them from carrying a concealed weapon of any kind.

II. An employee possessing a firearm under this subsection must retain control of it, on their person, at all times.

III. A firearm carried under this subsection may not be left in an unoccupied county vehicle at any time.

IV. An employee possessing a firearm under this subsection must keep such firearm concealed. An employee may secure a concealed firearm in a locked drawer (for example, a desk or filing cabinet) exclusively under the employee's control meaning only the employee has a key to the lock. An employee may conceal the firearm in his/her purse, briefcase, or backpack, but must keep such purse, etc., in his/her direct control at all times (for example, an employee securing a firearm in a backpack, must carry the backpack with them at all times).

V. An appointing authority has the authority to prohibit a given class or group of employees from possessing a firearm otherwise permitted under this subsection upon a determination by the appointing authority that the nature of duties or circumstances of the employee's work environment renders the carrying of such firearm impractical or unsafe (for example, the possibility the employee's duties involve entering on or into facilities where carrying a concealed firearm or weapon is prohibited by law).

Florida statutes preempting the policy limit the ability to conceal carry in certain places, including police stations, prisons/jails, courthouses, polling places, government meetings, schools, colleges, professional athletic events, career centers, establishments licensed to dispense alcohol for consumption on the premises, and airport terminals.


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