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Self Defense at Work? Manatee County “Levels the Playing Field”

The Manatee County Commission voted unanimously to adopt a new policy that would “level the playing field” when it comes to safety in the workplace.

MANATEE COUNTY, FLORIDA — On Tuesday, Manatee County Commission members voted unanimously to allow county employees to carry firearms at work. The proposal was made by Commissioner James Satcher last May but was delayed for legal review and a shift in county management.

According to Satcher, the new policy will allow employees to defend themselves in an emergency. However, six members of the public, concerned about workplace violence and lawsuits, spoke out against the measure at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The decision comes from a conservative board that recently supported gun rights with a Second Amendment Sanctuary City resolution and banned DEI content in public libraries.

“People are implying things are going to be less safe,” said Kruse. “We do allow guns in this building. We can’t prohibit the public from coming in here with a gun. They have every right – with concealed carry – to come in this building,” said Commissioner George Kruse, who defended the policy.

Kruse said county staffers, such as code enforcement officers, would benefit from having a firearm in certain situations – “effectively leveling the playing field.”