Eustis, Florida Commissioner Anthony Sabatini is one of many Republicans who believe more guns are the solution to the national epidemic of gun violence. But Sabatini, who is also running for a seat in the state House of Representatives, wants to take the “more guns in more hands” approach even further — he wants to allow every “law-abiding” city employee who obtains a concealed weapons license to carry guns while at work, and he wants to set aside public funds to help more city workers obtain concealed carry permits.
“One thing I think is very important we understand is the Second Amendment and that the ability to protect ourselves is fundamental,” Sabatini, 29, told the Daily Commercial. “I think it’s something we should encourage.”
“We all know that when somebody comes in shooting, you can’t call police, you can’t call 911,” Sabatini added in an interview with WOFL. “Gun free zones do nothing but protect criminals, they keep criminals safe.”
Sabatini said all public employees, including librarians, should be allowed to carry concealed handguns on the job.
“If somebody came into a library and started shooting up the place, what are you going to do?” he asked during the WOFL interview. “The only thing you could possibly do is arm one of the librarians, a competent, law abiding employee.”
Even armed librarians aren’t enough for Sabatini, however — he believes the city’s ban on guns in workplaces should be reconsidered.
“If you have an active shooter, you’re just in a really bad situation unless you have somebody that can step up and protect themselves and those around them,” he told the Daily Commercial.
Sabatini also believes the city’s gun ban offends “God.” He invoked his purported deity figure, who he believes personally grants Americans the right to possess weapons of war, in arguing against it.
“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,” he told WESH.
Eustis city commissioners shot down Sabatini’s proposal at their most recent meeting last week.
“I think it’s very clear that other than law enforcement officers, we have a strict prohibition on weapons,” City Manager Ron Neibert told the Daily Commercial.
Commissioner Linda Durham Bob said that instead of spending taxpayers’ money on concealed carry permits, the city would do better to fund training to identify at-risk youth and senior citizens.
“Let me be honest, I don’t feel that having additional guns guarantees safety,” she told the Daily Commercial. “I think the reason that we are where we are is because of the excessive amount of guns. Showing people love and compassion, that’s how we deal with all of this.”
The city commission meeting was held just one day after a former student armed with a semiautomatic assault-style rifle massacred 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The victims were among the more than 30,000 people killed by guns in the United States each year.
Sabatini, who is fond of tarring his fellow commissioners as “far-left liberals,” said he was undaunted by their rejection of his plan.
“This is just the beginning,” he told WOFL. “If it doesn’t end up being successful in Eustis…, other cities in this county will pick it up.”
Speaking of other cities, Sabatini has previously courted controversy by siding with white nationalists in the debate over Confederate monuments, which are being removed around the nation amidst a renewed wave of anti-racism activism.
“To any cities or counties that would like to donate their Confederate monuments to the city of Eustis, we will gladly accept and proudly display our nation’s history,” he saidlast August.