Tuck presents ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ resolution
By Phil Attinger, Highlands News-Sun, December 5, 2019
SEBRING — At Tuesday night’s Board of County Commission meeting, Commissioner Arlene Tuck presented an impromptu resolution to have the board declare Highlands County as a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary.’ The other four commissioners, however, declined to give it a second, stating they would prefer to have the matter advertised and presented at a future meeting, giving all members of the community a chance to weigh in on the issue.
The next regular commission meeting is 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17 in the commission board room at 600 S. Commerce Ave. in Sebring.
Tuck argued that Highlands County should join other Florida counties that have passed similar resolutions. The first was Lake County. Others that have followed suit include Bradford, Clay, Marion and Suwannee counties. Tuck said Okeechobee County Commission is set to consider a resolution at its next meeting.
Tuck said the resolution was the same as that used by other counties, which affirm the county commission’s support of the Second Amendment right to bear arms and declares opposition to any potential infringement of that right by state or federal government.
She presented it during the commissioners’ comments section of the meeting, as commissioners where wrapping up a night meeting that had overrun into a subsequent meeting time for the Construction and Licensing Board.
When asked if a resolution could be introduced that way, County Attorney Joy Carmichael said resolutions don’t require advertisement, but the other commissioners didn’t like it.
“I’m in favor of this. Don’t get me wrong,” said Commissioner Jim Brooks, who noted his own membership with the National Rifle Association, which has lobbied nationally for more gun rights versus gun control. “I think we should get a chance to hear from both sides.”
Brooks said a commissioner for Highlands County represents everybody in the county.
At that point, an unidentified man in the audience yelled, “If you’re scared, say you’re scared.”
Commissioner Don Elwell echoed Brooks’ sentiments about being in favor of the concept but also wanting to hear from more people than the six to eight people in the room, most of whom were there for a different meeting.
“I would rather pass a resolution to support all of the [U.S.] Constitution,” Elwell said.
Elwell said commissioners have a responsibility to “do the will of the people who put you in office.”
Tuck expressed disappointment that the commission didn’t approve the resolution Tuesday night, and said she didn’t expect a full hearing would change her mind or other commissioners’ minds.
“I know what people are going to say,” Brooks said.
“I do, too,” Tuck said.
“They need the chance to say it,” Brooks answered.
Elwell asked if this wouldn’t be a chance to make the next meeting a night meeting, and Tuck said she was fine with it staying a daytime meeting.
Meanwhile, she and Elwell have already put the matter on social media, asking constituents and those linked to their pages for comment.
“Hope I have all your support and that you attend the meeting [Dec. 17] or contact all your county commissioners,” Tuck wrote in her post. “This resolution sends a message to the federal government that they cannot force our local law enforcement to take away firearms from law abiding citizens.”
Elwell had a post on Nov. 29, stating another commissioner would suggest the resolution on Tuesday.
“As many of you know, we did indeed discuss this here [on social media] a few weeks ago, and I heard from many on both sides,” Elwell wrote, “and I did a GREAT (sic) deal of research on the pros & (sic) cons and any authority of such a resolution.”
Attinger, P. (2019, December 5). Tuck presents ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ resolution. Highlands News-Sun, p. A01. Retrieved from http://highlandsnewssun.fl.app.newsmemory.com/?publink=097a8b2c9