MARCO ISLAND, Fla - The national debate on gun control was front and center Tuesday night in Marco Island.
The city council approved a resolution that would nullify any federal laws that may restrict the second amendment right to bear arms and they sent a strong message to both county and state lawmakers.
Residents with a vested interest in the debate overflowed out of the city council chambers Tuesday night. More than a dozen speaking out in support of the resolution.
"As a victim that has looked down the barrel of a gun, please pass this so we can keep our rights," says Sue McCoin, a Marco Island resident.
Passionate pleas from Marco Island residents urged the city council to pass a resolution that would protect their second amendment rights they fear could be taken away at the federal level.
"We believe it is to protect our rights," says Keith Flaugh. "Governments role is not to give us rights, governments role is to protect our rights."
Keith Flaugh and the SWFL Citizens' Alliance presented the resolution. It calls upon elected officials at the state level to void any federal laws restricting the right to keep and bear arms and it prohibits city resources to be used to implement those laws.
"This is a redundancy," says councilman Larry Sacher. "We're not taking away anyone's rights if we fail to adopt this resolution."
After more than an hour of debate council passed the resolution in a split 4 to 3 decision receiving cheers from the crowd.
"I don't want to see us lose our rights," says McCoin. "We're losing our rights, one by one."
Resident Bill Flashe told the council he supports the second amendment, but says council has no right to get involved in federal issues. "We have elected our city council to spend their time resolving issues here in Marco Island."
Flaugh says passing this resolution is a first step is creating a grassroots movement. "We'd love to get all 67 counties pushing up to the Governor and the legislature to pass a law."
The SWFL Citizens' Alliance plans to bring this resolution to the Collier Board of County Commissioners on February 26 and Naples City Council in the coming weeks. Flashe says they brought the idea to Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott Monday and he is working to get the item on an upcoming Lee Board of County Commissioners meeting.
Tuesday February 26 the SWFL Citizens' Alliance will host a Collier County Town Hall meeting at the Marco Presbyterian Church from 7:00-9:00 p.m. It will be an opportunity for the public to partake in a discussion on the second amendment. Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and Marco Island Police Chief Don Hunter will be there to answer your questions.