Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin posted a statement online regarding proposed gun laws that includes this sentence: “I will refuse to participate in, nor tolerate actions against citizens that are deemed unconstitutional.”
An officer sworn to uphold the law, doesn’t have the option to decide whether or not to follow the law. The Supreme Court determines the constitutionality of laws. Local law officers do not.
Listed below are the proposed gun laws listed on the Whitehouse.gov website. I’d like to know which laws Sheriff Hanlin would refuse to enforce and why.
• Strengthen the background check system for gun sales
• Pass a new, stronger ban on assault weapons
• Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
• Finish the job of getting armor-piercing bullets off the streets
• Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime
• End the freeze on gun violence research
• Make our schools safer with new resource officers and counselors, better emergency response plans, and more nurturing school climates
• Ensure quality coverage of mental health treatment, particularly for young people
Reasonable people, whether they own guns or not, likely agree that background checks for all who wish to own and use guns is reasonable. Few law enforcement officers like the idea of facing armor-piercing bullets and few would decline additional tools to prevent and prosecute crime. Why would anyone object to research on the causes of gun violence or providing better resources for schools or increased coverage of mental health treatment?
I assume Hanlin’s objection lies with banning assault weapons and limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
Many of us would like to know for what legitimate use a citizen needs an assault weapon that can rapidly shoot up to a hundred bullets without a pause to reload? How often would 10 bullets instantly available not be enough fire power for a legitimate use?
Oregon has been the scene of mass shootings in a school and in a shopping mall. Why should all of us live in fear of the next mass murder when we don’t have to? Isn’t it reasonable to remove the weapons that pose the greatest threat to ordinary people in schools, shopping malls, places of worship, theaters, parks and anywhere else that people congregate? Where does the greater good lie?
The position taken by several Oregon sheriffs harkens back to the 1960s when southern governors including George Wallace, Lester Maddox and Orval Faubus chose not to uphold the laws of the land regarding segregation. Their names are ever tarred because of their arrogant and misguided decisions to defy the law, and they brought infamy to the states they represented.
Look at gun rights with fresh eyes. These new regulations pose no threat to hunters, target shooters, or people who keep guns for personal protection. The focus is on keeping innocent people safe, not depriving lawful gun owners of their Second Amendment rights.
Diane Williams of Winchester is an author and retired Umpqua Community College instructor. She can be reached at Diane.Y.S.Williams@gmail.com.