Eustis commissioner says city employees should be able to carry concealed weapons

Sabatini says city gun ban violates 'God-given right to self-defense'

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor, Troy Campbell - Reporter

EUSTIS, Fla. - In light of a mass shooting at a school in South Florida on Valentine's Day, a Eustis commissioner moved to have city employees carry concealed weapons.

Commissioner Anthony Sabatini brought up the proposal during the commission meeting Thursday evening. He wrote in a Facebook post that his fellow commissioners dismissed his proposal. 

"I believe the city gun ban strongly violates the spirit of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and unnecessarily endangers our public employees," Sabatini wrote online. "As a long-time concealed weapon carrier, I’m ashamed that some officials have deprived public employees of their God-given right to self-defense in the name of political correctness."

Sabatini said his ordinance would give an incentive to employees who lawfully obtain a concealed weapons permit and firearm. He also wants those employees to take part in gun safety training on a regular basis. 

Sabatini said he went to college with several Stoneman Douglas High School graduates.

"The last thing I want is a sitting duck situation where we have employees stuck out in a situation where they could have easily put down a killer, a live shooter, an active shooter and they were unable to because the City Commission decided to not allow them to do so," Sabatini said. "All it takes is one person with a gun to stop a threat."       

Sabatini said not all city employee positions would qualify to carry a firearm while on the job. 

City employees include library staff, code enforcement officials and public works employees, to name a few.

While Sabatini's proposal was shot down, he's not the first Central Florida official to suggest that city employees carry weapons. Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg has allowed 15 to 20 of his deputy tax collectors to openly carry firearms while performing their duties.

He said that because the office will no longer have to hire private security, the shift in policy will save his office $350,000 a year. That plan is expected to be fully implemented by August, according to an FAQ section about the policy on the tax collector's website.

Armed employees will be trained on how to use the weapons and each employee who chooses to openly carry a weapon will need to buy their own gun.

Because employees of the tax collector's office are considered revenue officers, they are exempt from the Florida statute that prohibits open carry.

Watch News 6 at 11 p.m. for more on Sabatini's proposal from reporter Troy Campbell. 

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