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Commissioners declare Charlotte County a gun rights sanctuary

Posted at 4:11 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 20:13:59-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Charlotte county is officially a sanctuary for gun owners. Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution making the county a Second Amendment sanctuary.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office says the county’s resolution simply shows support for the Second Amendment. It’s still up to deputies and other local agencies to enforce local, state and federal gun laws.

Several residents spoke out before the vote in Tuesday's meeting.

Some said it will reduce crime.

“The more skilled gun owners we have, the less criminals and crime we will have,” said one resident.

But, the latest data on gun violence shows related crimes in the U.S. are pretty high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which classifies gun violence as a public health issue. there were nearly 40,000 firearm-related deaths reported nationwide in 2019. They said that’s 109 people dying from a firearm-related injury everyday.

Commissioner Christopher Constance said he doesn’t believe those crimes are committed by registered gun owners, and gun control won’t make the numbers go down.

The bad guys aren’t going to show up and say oh hey we heard there’s gun control, we’re turning our weapons in," he said. "Gun control, it only works to control guns from lawful citizens. Why would we ever want to do that?"

But, Claudette Smith with Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said the resolution doesn’t give the county as much control over gun protections as it seems.

"This support of the second amendment does not change any of the laws that are currently in place, and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office will continue to enforce and follow the state laws," she said.

She added CCSO will still enforce federal laws like the red flag law, too.

"If a gun owner is a threat to themselves or the public, their guns can be and will be taken away from them and held in a secure location until further notice," she said.

Smith also said local law enforcement can't take away guns overnight under the red flag law. There must be enough evidence before a judge can issue a risk protection order.