MEDFORD, Ore. –In response to President Obama’s proposals to curb gun violence, which include an assault weapons ban and limited high capacity gun clips, sheriffs in Oregon wanted to send a message in response. The gist of it: not in our counties.
President Obama signed 23 executive orders on gun control on Wednesday morning, urging congress to reinstate a ban on assault weapons and push for an increase in background checks. In response, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said that Americans have the right to own guns and some of the President’s proposals violate the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Sheriff Winters called the President’s plan a “knee-jerk reaction.” He said he wants to see more of a discussion about gun rights, instead of the President recommending an outright ban. Winters said he does want to see more funding for mental health, and agrees there should be better background checks, but said an outright ban punishes people who legally own the guns.
“I have a problem when we’re going to penalize law abiding citizens who do everything right, and now we’re going to possibly infringe on their rights to have firearms,” Winters said.
Sheriff Winters is not the only law enforcement official in Oregon to disagree with the President. Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden saying he also disagrees with the idea of banning assault weapons. He calls it a “big brother mentality” and he said any order that he feels infringed on the Constitution will be ignored by the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office. Tuesday, Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller also sent his own letter to Vice President Biden saying he would not enforce any ban on firearms.