INDIAN RIVER COUNTY ― Indian River County Commissioners on July 13 unanimously approved a resolution offered by Commission Chairman Joe Flescher to designate the county as a second amendment sanctuary.
The resolution cited a 1997 Supreme Court decision, Printz v. United States, which said the federal government cannot compel law enforcement officers of the states to enforce federal laws.
The resolution seems to be a symbolic move, as counties cannot use resolutions to modify state or federal law. It does, however, indicate that Indian River County is joining with 44 of Florida’s 67 counties in declaring its support of gun rights.
No objections were voiced during the discussion, which began with Sheriff Eric Flowers declaring his support for the resolution.
“As long as I’m your sheriff, there are no concerns about your local law enforcement coming to take your guns,” Sheriff Flowers said to applause from the audience.
“I find it so important to recognize, as I stand here representing the government, that the origins of the second amendment was to protect the citizens from a tyrannical government,” Sheriff Flowers continued. “So, to have government that recognizes that right of the people to protect themselves from the government is so critically important to me.”
Sheriff Flowers left the podium to a standing ovation.
Before continuing, Comm. Flescher said that the only reason the first amendment is before the second amendment is that the first amendment was needed in order to talk about the second amendment.
“The second amendment was placed right after that first one, and it’s because they needed the first amendment so they can talk about the second amendment,” Comm. Flescher said. “That’s why it’s first.”
It should be noted, however, that Comm. Flescher’s assertion about the first amendment being placed first in order to allow for discussion of the second amendment is not consistent with the timeline on which the Bill of Rights was proposed and adopted.
The first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, were adopted and ratified simultaneously. The first ten amendments were all proposed on Sept. 25, 1789, and all ratified on Dec. 15, 1791, two years and 81 days later. Thus, all of the discussion the framers and the general public had about the second amendment happened before the first amendment was adopted. In other words, contrary to Comm. Flescher’s assertion, passage of the first amendment was not necessary for the debate to happen about the second amendment.
This inconsistency, however, did not affect either the county commissioners’ discussion or the broad support from the audience.
Resident Lamarre Notargiacomo said that she had signed petitions from 1,600 members of the public supporting the establishment of Indian River County as a second amendment sanctuary.
When Comm. Flescher said this would make Indian River County the 45th county in Florida to approve such a resolution, the audience cheered and applauded.
No commissioner objected, with Comm. Laura Moss simply pointing out a typo in the resolution. Once that typo was resolved, the resolution passed unanimously.