Guns at Work. What Could Go Wrong? Manatee County has policies that prohibit Manatee County staff from carrying firearms to work. Manatee County Commissioner James Satcher, at the May 10 Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) meeting, proposed the board direct the county administrator and county attorney to draft an ordinance that would allow employees of Manatee County (approx 2,000) to carry a concealed weapons while at work. Manatee County staff have been instructed to present the pros and cons at the July 26 BoCC meeting. Let the County Commissioners KnowWHAT COULD GO WRONG! Come up with valid, sound scenarios on what could go wrong when county employees have guns at work. We will share these possibilities with: The League distribution list On Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/lwvmanatee.org) On the record of the county commission for the July 25 Board of County Commission Board meeting. Add your scenarios. Send your suggestions to add to the list to firstname.lastname@example.org. YOUR SUBMISSIONS SO FAR The change in policy makes national news and conventions decide they will not come to our county because of our policy. There is an active shooter. The employee pulls his/her gun and another employee with a gun running from the shooter enters the room and is shot by the first employee. A neighbor calls the county to say their neighbor has a compost pile that is a fire hazard. The armed county employee arrives on the property to inspect the problem. He does not come to the house to make his presence known and therefore does not announce his purpose for being on the property. The owner sees someone on his property and confronts the “intruder” with a gun in his hand. The armed county employee feels threatened because the owner has a gun. The owner feels threatened because the other man (doesn’t know he’s a county employee) has a gun. They shoot each other. An armed intruder enters a county building, everyone draws a gun, the police show up. Who is the armed intruder? Who will the police shoot? As a gun owner and competent hunter, I would not be prepared to shoot another human unless myself or my family were at mortal risk. Imagine arming people who have never owned, nor shot a gun? Two employees get into a heated argument. One, not thinking, pulls his gun and it goes off. The family of the employee sues the county for not providing a safe working environment. A potential employee with good technical skills and recommendations hears about the gun policy and turns down the job. North Carolina lost 3.76 billion because of their bathroom bill. Do we want to risk that loss to the county over a culture war issue which could turn deadly? The County Commission have other more pressing matters to spend their time on, like bringing the impact fees more in line. They are losing lots of money every day because they have not moved to bring impact fees even close to what it costs for new development. Insurance rates increase. They increase ALOT when there is an incident. Then insurance is impossible to find and the county must self-insure. A county employee is careless with their gun and the family of the person who is shot or disabled sues the county for millions and wins. The U.S. Department of Labor is authorized to enforce the General Duty Clause of OSHA, which requires you to provide workers with a place of employment that “is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” Employers that allow workers to carry firearms at work could be on the hook for steep fines even without any injury if your gun policy is not carefully drafted to comply with the General Duty Clause. The Canadians, English and Germans, which generally are appalled by the US and our guns, become aware of our policy and decide to vacation some place other than our county. Demand for vacationing and home ownership drop here because of our policy and real estate values drop. Human Resources is already overloaded with work. Developing a policy that takes in all the legal and liability considerations correctly is a formidable task. Who is going to enforce this policy? Human Resources are not the police and do not want to be. Is the county going to provide a safe storage area? If so, it is a significant new project to provide them all the areas it could be needed. If not, it is negligent. One mistake in background checking for permission could lead to serious consequences and lawsuits. If one employee shoots another or anyone else, the liability determination opens a can of worms for all involved in this situation. How is the county going to pay? Arming employees would lead to increased security measures like metal detectors. Consider Animal Services. When a dog is confiscated, or euthanized, emotions run very high. The animal services person, when confronted with an emotionally upset person could feel threated and draw their arms, raising the threat level and potentially gun violence result. It could be more difficult for good people to visit and adopt a dog because staff may be armed and they would need to check if the potential adopters were armed. It’s a ridiculously stupid idea. There is a danger that this policy would drive out employees that did not share the extreme agenda and therefore the county would not make best decisions because there would not be diversity, multiple inputs and taking into consideration all people. The county is not a “well regulated militia”. Exceptional employee that happens to be a 24 year old black man wearing a hoodie to work, carrying a gun. —What could go wrong. DeSantis has already indicated that they will be looking at gun legislation at the next legislative session. Waiting until the state changes rules could avoid having to revisit the policy later wasting time and money. The policy may lead to violations of Florida law, which does not allow people to openly carry firearms and does not allow guns in meetings of the governing body of any county, public school district or municipality, to name just a few restricted areas. AR-15s must be banned or very strict ownership restrictions levied first, because how can a hand gun stand up against one of these monsters …as it is already the case. Some employees are more frightening than the general public. The Manatee County employees should have more interaction with the public, not less. Fear is creating a disconnect and arming employees makes it worse. More guns equals more opportunities for violence, not less. IF County Employees were allowed to carry, where would it end? Would the BoCC be swamped with countless requests for similar rulings at schools, restaurants, museums, concerts —the list is endless. This would go viral on social media + go to national news for sure. If an armed employee shoots a citizen or another employee, accidentally or otherwise. Would WE, the tax-paying citizens have to back up lawsuits from families, companies, etc? I am a retired human resources director after 30 years in public and private employers. It is difficult enough to sit with employees who are being disciplined or being fired. There is always the potential for an employee to get angry and or violent. Now I would have to wonder if they are carrying a gun and could kill me! How many competent supervisors, managers and human resource professionals will quit or refuse jobs because they have added to the potential for violence and or murder. Mr. Satcher’s idea is a powder keg. “Good guy with a gun” is a fantasy…I feel less safe with more guns.