MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) — Manatee County will likely soon be Florida’s next “Second Amendment sanctuary.”
On Tuesday, commissioners voted 6-0 to have the county attorney draft a resolution that would grant it the designation. Commissioner George Kruse was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Right now, the majority of Florida’s 67 counties have established similar resolutions, including four other counties in the Tampa Bay area, Polk, Citrus, Highlands and DeSoto counties.
Newly-elected conservative Commissioner Jason Bearden brought up the topic Tuesday and it quickly gained support from fellow commissioners.
“I think it is necessary that we join the ranks and with all the gun regulation that is going on right now, this would be a good opportunity to send a message to Joe Biden that his unconstitutional policies will not be tolerated here in Manatee County and he can take his policies and stick it where the sun don’t shine,” said Bearden. “I didn’t get elected to be politically correct. I am here to do with the people elected me to do and that is to protect our God-given right and that is what I continue to plan to do,” he continued.
Commissioner Amanda Ballard says if the resolution moves forward, she wants residents to know it is not creating any new rights or laws.
“It is not creating any new right to own a gun, it is not creating any more guns, it is not increasing the likelihood of violence in Manatee County. What it is doing is saying that, if there are state or federal laws that are contrary to the Second Amendment, that in the event that those things occur or are put into place, that Manatee County will not be a county that enforces those things against the Second Amendment rights of our citizens,” said Ballard.
Before commissioners voted, a representative from Manatee County Democrats spoke out against the resolution.
Vice-chair of the Manatee County Democrats said he found the timing of the discussion Tuesday insensitive and disrespectful.
“It is pure insanity, pure insanity. Five years after the massacre of 17 students and teachers in Parkland, five years after that, and then, in light of what happened just yesterday at Michigan State University,” said Glenn Pearson. “It is like a gun fetish, I don’t understand it. If it doesn’t change anything, why do it? What is the symbolism here? What is the message that we are trying to send? It makes no sense,” he continued.
Following Tuesday’s vote, the county attorney will draft a resolution which will come back for a vote at a later time.