Clay County discusses idea of allowing its employees to carry guns on job

Current policy only allows county employees to keep guns in personal vehicles

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – Clay County commissioners on Tuesday discussed whether county employees should be allowed to carry concealed weapons on the job.

News4Jax spoke to one commissioner who said he brought up the idea before the mass shooting
at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. But now, he said, it's more important for the county to have the discussion. 

The commission meeting began at 4 p.m. in Green Cove Springs. 

The conversation is in the preliminary stages, but Clay County Commission Chairman Gavin Rollins said only county employees with concealed carry permits would be allowed to bring their firearms to work.

“I think about employees in the field who are out in isolated areas. I think that highlights the need for protection," Rollins said.

Rollins admitted there is a lot of research that must be done before this idea becomes an official proposal. 

“Did we have a ground swell that caused us to look at this? We don’t even know if our employees want to do this or not," Clay County Commissioner Mike Cella said. "That’s not an answer any one of us came come up with, but maybe there’s a way we can anonymously survey our employees, just to find out if there’s an interest there before we move forward and take that step.”

Clay County Commissioner Diane Hutchings added there needs to be a level of comfort before the idea goes forward.

“I did ask one resident about it and his first thought was, 'How would an employee feel if he knew his fellow employees is carrying?'" she said.

Rollins said he believes county workers should have gun rights like everyone else, but only be allowed to carry where everyone else can. 

According to the current policy, employees can only keep their guns in their car but are not allowed to bring them into county buildings while working. If caught, they could face discipline.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services outlines where you can't carry a firearm even if you have a license. That includes any courthouse, polling location, jails, police stations, plus several other places.

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Award-winning broadcast and multimedia journalist with 20 years experience.

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.