The resolution, which is mostly ceremonial, outlines the Second Amendment and several court cases that reaffirmed American citizens' rights to bear arms. It also recognizes and re-affirms the Santa Rosa County militia.

Three days after a deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that killed three men and injured eight people, Santa Rosa County passed a resolution declaring the county a "Second Amendment Sanctuary."


The resolution, which is mostly ceremonial, outlines the Second Amendment and several court cases that reaffirmed American citizens' rights to bear arms. It also recognizes and re-affirms the Santa Rosa County militia, which was first established in 1994 when residents grew concerned about what they saw as threats to their Second Amendment rights.


"The militia has been in place for a long time. You can come to the county and get a militia card," said District 3 Commissioner and Board Chairman Don Salter. "It simply means you're pro-county."


When asked if pro-county meant pro-militia, Salter said, "I would say so, because it is Santa Rosa County."


Jerry Couey, a candidate for Salter's seat in 2020, is a member of the Santa Rosa County militia and still has the card he was issued in 1994. He said militia members still stand ready, 25 years later, to assist law enforcement if needed.


"In 1994, we stood up and had a big meeting, because in the state of Florida we have a legal right to have an organized militia," Couey said. "So that was a move the Board of County Commissioners made, and they started handing out cards and recognizing those that wanted to be a part of the militia. Thank goodness we've never been called, that's a good thing."


The resolution was put on the agenda Thursday, a day before the deadly shooting. But Salter said he felt Friday's shooting made the timing of the resolution even more appropriate.


"It shows the need for American citizens, especially in Santa Rosa County, to be able to defend themselves," he said. "It was very unfortunate what happened at NAS Pensacola, we don't control those kind of rules, but I think it just reaffirms our commitment to supporting the constitution."


District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker said he asked for the resolution be put on the agenda after learning that eight other Florida counties had passed similar resolutions. Parker, a former law enforcement officer who was shot in the line of duty, asked Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office deputy Roman Jackson, who has also been shot in the line of duty, to read the resolution into the record.


"I did suffer three gunshot wounds while on duty in 2004, and at no point in time have I ever blamed the weapon," Jackson said. "I blame the person. We make choices, and unfortunately I was part of his choice. By the act of God, I got to live and share my story with other law enforcement officers, as well as you, and I get to serve as a testimony to how blessed I am."