After two months of controversy and fierce debates, it is with disappointment that I write today about the fact that Commissioner Arlene Tuck was able to pass her Second Amendment resolution. This meaningless piece of paper labeled our county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County,” which is nothing more than a powerless statement and a mere formality. This resolution was passed alongside Commissioner Don Elwell’s much more sensible resolution, in which it stated that Highlands County fully supports every piece of the United States Constitution and its amendments.
In regards to Commissioner Elwell’s resolution, I can understand why such a resolution would be passed. It is a statement of support for our United States Constitution that is written in a manner that any dissent is borderline treasonous. However, two months later, I fail to see how Commisioner Tuck’s resolution will have any positive impact or even the slightest touch of influence on the county. It is nothing more than a piece of copy paper with conservatively charged wording on it that has zero legal standing whatsoever.
For the foreseeable future and as of now, nothing is threatening any responsible gun owner’s firearms. Both chambers of the Florida Legislature are Republican, Governor Ron Desantis is Republican, the Senate is Republican controlled, and the President of the United States is Republican. In the unconstitutional scenario that an attempt to strip gun rights is made, the Conservative Supreme Court will strike it down without even thinking about it.
While gun advocates passionately asked for this resolution to pass, we completely ignored the real issues at hand, such as education. Since October, Superintendent Longshore has made attempts to receive more funding for our schools. She advocated in front of an education commissioner for more funding after having to spend for the newest security measures at our county’s schools. Along with this, she brought to the light that 37 teaching positions that are filled with long-term substitutes. Despite passionately advocating, Highlands County schools were just on the receiving end of budget cuts.
Simultaneously, we continue to live in one of the poorest counties in the state. Our median household income is $26,252 below the national average and nearly a fifth of Highlands County residents remain in poverty. Our local county government should work to bring well-paying jobs and attempt to improve this disappointing figure. However, we do not see the same passion in advocating as Commissioner Tuck’s resolution received.
The Florida Department of Education receives no backlash for underfunding the education of our children nor does the local departments in charge of bringing jobs to Highlands County receive any attention for the poor economic statistics of our county.
At the end of the day, I know that this resolution has zero real power besides dividing our county down party lines and wasting valuable county time. The same time that was spent on voting on this resolution could have been spent addressing the real needs of the county. We could have elected to pressure our state government to fund our school system or pressured our county government to take initiative and bring new jobs to Highlands County.
Respectably, there were two county commissioners who voted no on this resolution and chose to put their conscience over their party. These two commissioners made the right call by voting no on Commissioner Tuck’s useless resolution. If every commissioner thought the same way as these two did, the real issues that are crying out for solutions would cease to exist.
Miguel Arceo is a student athlete at Sebring High School.