OCONTO, Wis. (WFRV) – Oconto County has been declared a Second Amendment Preservation County. This means the county supports legislation that protects their right to bear arms and advancements in firearm education and safety.

However, reaching a vote took more than an hour as members of the community let their voices be heard.

Bill Honrath of Oconto was for the resolution saying, “There are good people in this world. There are bad people in this world and guns are an inanimate objects…Bad guys are going to have guns no matter what. Restrictive gun laws only effect good, decent, law abiding citizens.”

Little Suamico native Mike Trudell was also eager to get it passed.

“This is something we need. It’s long overdue,” Trudell says.

Of course with any hot button issue like guns, there is opposition.

Mark Smith from Morgan says, “The second amendment is already part of the US Constitution. As such, it’s already part of Oconto county legal framework. I do think also that the push for a for robust Second Amendment rights is detrimental to tourism and a peaceful way of life for visitors and others who come from other parts of the world where gun violence seldom occurs.”

Jane Benson ran for the 89th Assembly District last year, and she says the thought process behind the resolution hindered her campaign.

“There is an entrenched culture of fear in the county. So many people were afraid to put up yard signs or volunteer for me for fear of bullying and intimidation. The proposed resolution will just make that fear greater,” Benson says.

Despite the back and forth discussion, County Administrator Erik Pritzl says the resolution is an important step for the county.

He says, “I think it shows unity in terms of a lot of people in the county. I think it does also show that we’re sensitive to the needs of people with mental health issues and education pieces and the safety pieces…We’re about making sure that people honor their rights, but at the same time, we also know that there’s some more work to be done.”