Manatee County employees permitted to carry concealed weapons on the job 

Reporter: Kellie Miller
Published: Updated:

Most employees aren’t allowed to carry guns at work, but one nearby county voted to change that rule. Thanks to a new policy in Manatee County, licensed county employees can now carry firearms at work.

“The new rule is going to be that if you can lawfully carry in the United States of America and Florida, then you can carry as a Manatee County employee,” said James Satcher. 

Manatee County Commissioner James Satcher is the mastermind behind the new controversial carry policy. According to Satcher, the new policy allows all licensed employees to carry guns in most county-owned and operated buildings. 

“We all have a sphere of influence somewhere where we can change things and for me, it’s right here,” Satcher said. 

Due to state law, the policy does not apply to places like a courthouse or polling place. Satcher said he’s received some pushback from the community, but stands by his belief that the new policy will improve the safety and security for Manatee County’s nearly 2,000 employees. 

“I’m not into criminal empowerment zones, gun free zones, because that’s all they end up being, you know–the good guys are going to follow the rule but the bad guys are not…and so we’re changing that dynamic,” Satcher said. 

Manatee County commissioners would not provide an exact timeline of when the policy goes into effect. However, Satcher said the county attorney has already reviewed the policy, and right now, they are finalizing it. 

Satcher further said he encourages other Florida counties to follow suit. ‘WINK Investigates’ reporter Kellie Miller reached out to Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Desoto, Hendry, and Glades counties for an update. 

All six counties have clear policies prohibiting employees from carrying firearms and weapons on county property.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen even the safest communities experience deadly mass shootings. Commissioner Satcher believes the new Manatee policy is a reasonable way to protect employees.

“I feel like this is a reasonable solution for everyone to be able to take some level of personal security into their own control,” Satcher said. 

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